Chronic UTIs Are Becoming Endemic
As we age, our bodies can become more susceptible to certain health issues and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are no exception. A recent national survey showed that 20 million, or 32%, of women over the age of 50 have had a UTI in the past year.
What’s worse is that over half (55%) of these women will have a recurrence of the same infection after treatment, due to increasing antibiotics resistance. Over the past 10 years, due to the frequent use of antibiotics, the bacteria have learned how to develop defense mechanisms to survive and mutate during and after treatment.
The Triple Play Plan To Win The UTI Battle
A significant amount of clinical research has shown that in order to defeat this cycle of recurrences, the treatment plan needs to go beyond just the bladder. The “Triple Play” defense plan needs to include the urinary tract, the vagina and the digestive tract.
And here’s what your doctor won’t tell you: there are a variety of natural supplements which are more effective, and safer, than antibiotics to stop UTIs for good.
In summary, to fend off chronic UTIs, here’s what you need:
- For the urinary tract: D-Mannose and Cranberry Extract
- For the vagina: Estradiol cream and probiotic suppositories
- For the digestive tract: A combination of two specific strains of probiotics
Dive into the details below.
1. Urinary Tract Defense: D-Mannose and Cranberry Extract
Antibiotics Are No Longer The Silver Bullet for UTIs
A recent study by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) in Dallas has uncovered a possible explanation for why older women are more prone to UTIs.
The researchers found that the bladder walls of older women can be invaded by multiple types of bacteria, making them more susceptible to infection and making treatment more complex.
So your doctor may be treating an E. Coli infection with nitrofurantoin and you’re not feeling better. This may be because you also have Klebsiella pneuminia bactera in your bladder that remains untreated. To understand how challenging it is to get rid of a UTI these days, you need to know that there are at least 15 different types of UTI-causing bacteria.
And what’s worse is that many of these bacterial strains has developed a certain level of resistance to most antibiotics. For example, E. Coli bacteria, found in most UTI urine cultures, are resistant to most of the commonly-prescribed antibiotics. Read more here about antibiotics that are no longer effective.
New Natural Alternatives For UTI Relief Are Now Available
Medical professionals are being forced to discuss natural alternatives to antibiotics with their patients. The two most frequently recommended are D-Mannose powder and Cranberry extract.
D-Mannose Powder To Clear UTI Symptoms
A natural supplement called D-Mannose has been proven to clear the symptoms of a UTI faster and more completely. It is a powder that is extracted from fruits and produces glucose, the healthy sugar our body makes. The UTI-causing bacteria are extremely attracted to the D-Mannose sugar molecules, so they let go of the bladder lining and bind to these molecules which are then quickly washed out with the urine. It is effective against the E. Coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, together representing 80% of all bacteria. Unlike antibiotics, it does not harm the good bacteria, and it does not have the digestive and vaginal side-effects. Click here to learn more about how D-Mannose works to clear up UTIs.
High-Powered Cranberry Extract Capsules To Protect Against New UTIs
All of the latest scientific research confirms that cranberry does not help alleviate UTI symptoms; BUT at certain levels of concentration, it keeps new infections away.
Cranberry’s role is to coat the bladder so that any new bacteria will not be able to adhere to the slippery surface it creates. Only cranberry products which show a daily dose of “36 mg PAC” on the label will prevent new UTIs. PAC stands for proanthocyanidins, which are the phenols which make cranberry work. Read more about how cranberry works here. So once UTI symptoms are no longer present, or urine test strips show negative UTI results, you can take a daily dose of cranberry to stay UTI-free.
There are several brands of D-Mannose and Cranberry extract available. But be careful to avoid products which combine both together; you will not get enough of each ingredient. You need both. Goodbye UTI has a “Clear and Protect Kit” that has been proven effective and safe.
2. Vaginal Defense: Estrogen Cream and Probiotic Suppositories
Antibiotics Treatment Causes Changes To Bacteria In The Vagina
Many women have found that while antibiotics may have offered some help in clearing up the burning symptoms associated with their urinary tract, they have caused a yeast infection which produces a similar type of discomfort “down there”. That’s because the antibiotics have disrupted the balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina.
The most reliable way to get rid of a yeast infection is to visit your doctor and get a prescription for fluconazole, an oral treatment that may take 1 week to clear it up. If you are sure that you have a yeast infection, you can try a non-prescription antifungal cream or suppositories which contain boric acid, a mild antiseptic. Click here to read the many ways you can try to treat a vaginal infection naturally.
Postmenopausal Changes Also Cause A Loss of “Good” Vaginal Bacteria
Menopause gradually causes a loss of both the estrogen hormone and the “good” Lactobacilli in the vagina that help stave off UTIs.
Estrogen Cream or Gel Therapy
A 2020 article in “Urology” provides a detailed case study and findings regarding the use of estrogen therapy to address these imbalances in estrogen and Lactobacilli. Here is a summary.
As estrogen is depleted, the vaginal wall becomes dried out and infectious bacteria settle in its crevices, forming colonies and contributing to both vaginal and urinary tract problems. In addition, the entire vaginal microbiome changes, with increasing pH following menopause and loss of lactobacillus predominance. These alterations allow a more hospitable environment for bacterial growth and increase the risk of UTI. The application of estrogen (delivered either via ring or cream) has been clinically proven to be another way to defend against UTIs.
In fact, the 2019 American Urological Association guideline for recurrent UTIs in women recommends that doctors offer vaginal estrogen therapy to post-menopausal women with recurrent UTIs to reduce their risk.
There are several brands of estrogen cream that are recommended by doctors. Estrace cream or Estradiol vaginal gel, insert, and ring are most frequently recommended.
Probiotics Suppository Therapy
Lactobacillus is the most frequently isolated microorganism from the healthy human vagina (this includes four strains: Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus iners, and Lactobacillus jensenii). These vaginal lactobacilli have been touted to prevent the invasion of bacteria by keeping their population in check. Probiotics are a way to manage the right balance of vaginal flora. But there are many ways to administer probiotics and an overwhelming number of probiotic strains.
Treatment with oral probiotics for vaginal balance has been tested, but the research shows that using probiotic suppositories is much more effective. In this 2021 article the conclusion was as follows: “Vaginal suppositories containing the GAI 98322 strain of Lactobacillus crispatus effectively prevent episodes of recurrent cystitis (UTIs), both during administration and for at least 1 year after administration.
3. Digestive Defense: Oral Probiotics
Many scientific studies have shown that regulation of the gastrointestinal flora with probiotic support may prevent genitourinary infections.
Antibiotics play a significant role in depleting “good” bacteria which can result in recurrent UTIs and vaginal Candida fungal infections. According to an article in Physician 360, taking probiotics can help avoid UTIs in the following ways:
- Prevent harmful bacteria like coli from attaching to urinary tract cells
- Produce hydrogen peroxide in urine, which is a strong antibacterial
- Lower urine pH, making conditions less favorable for bacteria
Probiotics can be taken in the form of capsules, powder or a variety of fermented dairy products.
Adding Lactobacilli Will Help The Bladder Stay Free UTIs
In an article published by LabRoots, researchers found that “Lactobacilli seem to eliminate pathogens from the urinary tract, even when those pathogens carry multiple antibiotic resistance genes”. Translation: taking probiotics may also help with a new, dangerous UTI-causing bacteria known as ESBL E/Coli. Read about it here.
There Are Many Probiotic Strains, But Only Two Lactobacilli Matter
The Physician 360 article goes on to say that the hydrogen peroxide-producing lactobacilli are believed to be important in providing protection from UTIs. The research specifically identified that the L. reuteri RC-14 strain added to L. rhamnosus GR-1 created an ideal combination.
Products like Fem-dophilus state that they provide a mix of the two bacteria. The label should say “For Vaginal and Urinary Tract” ; also look for the 1 Billion CFU (colony-forming units).
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