UTI (Urinary Tract Infections), are usually caused by bacteria, such as E. coli, which can enter the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder.
Typically, urinary tract infections can affect any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. They are more common in women than in men.
UTIs can occur for a variety of reasons, including poor hygiene, sexual activity, certain forms of birth control, menopause, and underlying medical conditions that affect the urinary tract. Pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems are also at a higher risk of developing UTIs[i].
UTIs can cause inflammation and irritation of the urinary tract, leading to symptoms such as a strong, persistent urge to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, passing frequent, small amounts of urine, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, and pelvic pain in women.
If you suspect that you have a UTI, it is important to seek medical attention promptly, particularly if you experience symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or lower back pain. These may indicate that the infection has spread to the kidneys, which can be a serious condition.
To prevent UTIs, it is important to maintain good hygiene, drink plenty of fluids, and make sure to urinate frequently, when you need to[ii].
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water and other fluids helps to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract[iii].
Avoid irritants: Certain foods and drinks, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and acidic foods, can irritate the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs[iv].
Probiotics: Foods such as yogurt, kefir, and kimchi are good sources of probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed, as they can aid in maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in both the gut and urinary tract[v].
Antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds found in many foods that can help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. For example, antioxidants can help boost the immune system, which plays an important role in fighting off infections, including UTIs. Some specific antioxidants that may be particularly beneficial for UTI prevention include vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene[vi].
Cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins, which are thought to help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder walls. By preventing bacteria from attaching to the bladder walls, cranberries may reduce the risk of infection.
Studies such as one performed on 373 premenopausal women found that daily consumption of cranberry juice reduced the incidence of symptomatic UTIs by approximately 50% compared to placebo[vii].
Vitamin C can help increase the acidity of urine, making it less hospitable to bacteria[viii].
Uva ursi, also known as bearberry, is a plant that has been traditionally used for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). The leaves of the plant contain compounds called hydroquinone glycosides. These plant compounds have antibacterial properties and may help to reduce inflammation and pain in the urinary tract[ix].
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and urinary tract[x].
Allicin is am anti-microbial component of garlic, it has been seen in studies to be effective against e-coli infections, which are the main type of bacteria known to cause UTI’s[xi].
Try: Allicin Max
This plant contains several compounds, including coumarins and essential oils, that have been shown to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties[xii]. Please consult with your doctor prior to use due to the potential for angelica leaf to interact with medications and cause adverse effects in certain populations, such as pregnant women.
Functional microbiome testing may have potential for identifying the specific bacteria causing a UTI and guiding personalized treatment plans, particularly for recurrent UTIs and cases that do not respond to standard treatments[xiii].
[i] Foxman, B. (2014). Urinary tract infection syndromes: occurrence, recurrence, bacteriology, risk factors, and disease burden. Infectious Disease Clinics, 28(1), 1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2013.09.003
[ii] Hooton, T. M. (2012). Uncomplicated urinary tract infection. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(11), 1028-1037. doi: 10.1056/NEJMcp1104429
[iii] Hess, M. J., Hess, P. E., Sullivan, M. R., Nee, M., Yalla, S. V. (2003). Evaluation of cranberry tablets for the prevention of urinary tract infections in spinal cord injured patients with neurogenic bladder. Spinal Cord, 41(12), 700-704. doi: 10.1038/sj.sc.3101530
[iv] Nickel, J. C. (2005). The role of the diet in the development and prevention of urinary tract infection. Current Opinion in Urology, 15(5), 333-338. doi: 10.1097/01.mou.0000172409.13644.3e
[v] Beerepoot, M. A. J., Ter Riet, G., Nys, S., van der Wal, W. M., de Borgie, C. A. J. M., de Reijke, T. M., ... & Stobberingh, E. (2012). Lactobacilli vs antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: a randomized, double-blind, noninferiority trial in postmenopausal women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(9), 704-712. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.777
[vi] Gombart, A. F., Pierre, A., & Maggini, S. (2020). A review of micronutrients and the immune system-working in harmony to reduce the risk of infection. Nutrients, 12(1), 236. doi: 10.3390/nu12010236
[vii] Barbosa-Cesnik, C., Brown, M. B., Buxton, M., Zhang, L., DeBusscher, J., & Foxman, B. (2011). Cranberry juice fails to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection: results from a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 52(1), 23-30. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciq073
[viii] Hess, B., Coe, F., & Worcester, E. (2018). Impact of urine pH on urinary tract infection pathogenesis: an update. Journal of Urology, 199(3), 730-731. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.11.019
[ix] Abdullahi, M. A., Candido, E., & Mahdi, M. A. (2020). Herbal therapy: A review of emerging pharmacological tools for the management of urinary tract infection. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 10(3), 261-271. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2020.02.013
[x] Reid, G. (2018). Probiotics for urogenital health. Nutrition Bulletin, 43(1), 35-42. doi: 10.1111/nbu.12320
[xi] Chang Z, An L, He Z, Zhang Y, Li S, Lei M, Xu P, Lai Y, Jiang Z, Huang Y, Duan X, Wu W. Allicin suppressed Escherichia coli-induced urinary tract infections by a novel MALT1/NF-κB pathway. Food Funct. 2022 Mar 21;13(6):3495-3511.
[xii] Abdullahi, M. A., Candido, E., & Mahdi, M. A. (2020). Herbal therapy: A review of emerging pharmacological tools for the management of urinary tract infection. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 10(3), 261-271. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2020.02.013
[xiii] Boutin, S., Depner, M., Strowig, T. (2021). Functional microbiome testing in the clinic: are we there yet? Nature Reviews Microbiology, 19(11), 747-758. doi: 10.1038/s41579-021-00604-y
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.