Urinary tract infections. UTIs.
They aren’t glamorous. They aren’t fun to talk about. They certainly aren’t fun to have.
As much as we may not enjoy talking about them, it’s important that we do. While some estimates state up to 50% of women, according to the National Kidney Foundation, “one in five women will have at least one UTI in her lifetime.” Furthermore, they go on that “nearly 20 percent of women who have a UTI will have another, and 30 percent of those will have yet another. Of this last group, 80 percent will have recurrences.”
That’s a lot of women dealing with UTIs! In fact, it’s the reason for about 10 million doctors’ visits a year.
I am part of that last group. Prior to seeking out natural remedies, I can’t even tell you how many UTIs I dealt with a year. It seemed as soon as I took antibiotics and got rid of it, within a week or two I had another.
Before I go on, let me be clear: while UTI’s are common, my extensive history with them is not. I have had kidney issues since I was 16 which puts me at a higher risk for urinary tract problems. However, even if you aren’t dealing with them frequently like I do, there are still a lot of good reasons to keep natural remedies in mind. Maybe you start getting symptoms over a long weekend or while you’re on vacation, or perhaps your doctor can’t get you in for a few days. Rather than waiting to get in and get a prescription, there are natural alternatives you can implement to gain relief. Not to mention treating the infection naturally eliminates the side effects associated with antibiotics.
When my issues first started, my doctor gave me the usual rundown: wipe front to back, drink lots of water, go to the bathroom before and after intercourse. None of it helped. Then he prescribed me an antibiotic to take every time after intercourse (a common UTI trigger). While this decreased the frequency, the next time I got a UTI it was antibiotic resistant!
Consider this: by age 21 I had dealt with multiple antibiotic-resistant infections. What’s scarier is that despite this, multiple doctors gave me the same solution: a daily antibiotic.
Now I’m no doctor, but that didn’t sound right to me. I’ve started getting antibiotic-resistant infections and your solution is to put me on more antibiotics?
At this point, I decided to do my own research.
There are many natural options out there when it comes to urinary tract health, but there’s one that I have found that, in my experience, rises above the rest: D-mannose.
D-mannose is a type of naturally occurring sugar related to glucose. Unlike glucose, it is not absorbed by the body, thus it doesn’t affect your blood sugar the way regular sugar does. Because it is not absorbed by the body, this also means it’s not toxic even if it is taken regularly or as a preventative measure.
D-mannose works by ridding the urinary tract of E-coli, the bacteria responsible for up to 90% of UTIs. By inhibiting the bacteria’s ability to stick to the urinary tract walls, D-mannose effectively flushes the infection-causing bacteria from the urinary tract within 24-48 hours (however it is recommended to treat for a few days after symptoms disappear to make sure the infection is fully resolved).
It is important to note that D-mannose is only effective in treating UTIs caused by E-coli. If your symptoms do not improve in 1-2 days, you should see your doctor for a culture and treatment.
D-mannose is a great option for UTI treatment. It is effective, can be used to treat infections, and as a preventative. D-mannose has few known side effects, the most common of which is diarrhea. Some people have also reported bloating and developing rashes. If any of these occur, you might try a different brand and talk with your doctor.
Because D-mannose is a supplement, it is not regulated by the FDA. For this reason, you want to be sure to buy high quality, trusted brands, just as you would with any other supplement.
A quick internet search will provide you with several natural remedies for urinary tract issues. While I haven’t tried all of them, of the herbs and supplements I have tried D-mannose has hands down been the most effective.
Antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections, cause nausea, decrease the effectiveness of a woman’s birth control, and lead to yeast infections. I especially love D-mannose because it typically provides me relief faster than antibiotics, without the side effects.
Got questions? Want to share your own experience with treating UTIs? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
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