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The Top 6 Supplements for Urinary Tract Health
Bladder health is easy to take for granted. That is, until you get a tell-tale pain or discomfort in the pelvis. This kind of pain may mean that you have a urinary tract infection, or UTI. Luckily, UTIs can be treated with antibiotics.
However, especially if you suffer from recurrent UTI, it can be painful, frustrating and disheartening to get infections on a regular basis.
Although antibiotics are the only way to get rid of a UTI once it has started, several different supplements can help to prevent UTIs from happening in the first place. For this reason, we have scoured the internet to find the top 6 best supplements for urinary health.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is a bacterial infection of one or more parts of the urinary system. This system has several components., including:
- Kidneys, which filter waste from your blood
- Ureters, which transport waste from the kidneys to the bladder
- Bladder, which holds urine
- Urethra, the opening in your genitals where you pass urine
Symptoms of UTI
Because a UTI is often very uncomfortable, many people know when they have one. This is especially true if the person has had a UTI before. Symptoms can include:
- Pain, burning or discomfort when passing urine
- A need to pass urine more frequently than normal
- Pressure in the lower abdomen
- Foul-smelling urine
- Cloudy or discolored urine
- New pain in your back or sides under the ribs
- Confusion and mental status changes, especially in the elderly
Risk Factors for UTI
Several risk factors for UTI exist. Unfortunately, it is difficult to change your risk factors. However, you can reduce your overall risk for UTI even if you are predisposed to them. Risk factors for UTI include:
- Being female: Women have a shorter urethra than men. This gives bacteria a shorter path to get into the bladder and cause an infection. Although both sexes can get UTIs, women get UTIs at about four times the rate that men do.
- Having diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk for UTI for a couple of different reasons. First, people with diabetes who have high blood sugar levels often also have high sugar in their urine. Because sugar is a favorite food for bacteria, people with diabetes are predisposed to UTI. Second, people with diabetes often have an impaired immune system compared to people who do not have the disease. This leaves their bodies less able to fight off infections like UTI.
- Needing a tube to drain your bladder: Certain people, especially those with injuries leaving them bedbound, may need a catheter, which is a tube to drain the bladder. Because the tube is a foreign object inserted into the body, it can introduce bacteria even if you take precautions and use good hygiene. People who use catheters have a high rate of UTI for this reason.
If you have signs of a UTI, or if your doctor tells you that you have a UTI, it is important to get treatment.
This is true even if you do not have severe UTI symptoms. If left untreated, a UTI can move up into your kidneys and cause a much more serious infection called pyelonephritis. A UTI can also move into your bloodstream, leading to a severe infection called sepsis. Both of these complications can be deadly.
Although the best supplements for urinary tract health can help to prevent UTI, they cannot treat one. You should always seek medical attention if you have UTI symptoms and take antibiotics as directed by your doctor.
Even if you start to feel better, you should continue your antibiotics until they are finished to make sure that they kill all the bacteria.
Doctors recommend many non-drug techniques for helping to prevent UTI. While some are specific for women, who naturally have a higher UTI risk, other strategies can be used by men too. Techniques include:
- If you are a woman, using pads instead of tampons. The pads should be unscented to reduce the risk of irritation. Further, making sure you change your pad every time you go to the bathroom.
- If you are a woman, avoiding douches, sprays and powders on your genitals. No perfumed products should be used on your genitals.
- Wiping from front to back when using the bathroom, especially if you are a woman.
- Taking showers instead of baths, and avoiding bath oils.
- Cleaning your genital area, especially before and after sex.
- Making sure to urinate both before and after sex. Drinking a couple of glasses of water after sex may help you pass urine.
- Wearing underwear with a cotton crotch, which is more breathable than polyester.
- Avoiding tight-fitting pants.
- Drinking plenty of water, about 2 to 4 liters every day.
Supplements for UTI Prevention
Besides non-drug techniques for UTI prevention, many supplements and natural remedies have been used across the world to prevent UTI. Some of the remedies with the best scientific evidence behind them include:
- Cranberry: Cranberry has been extensively studied for UTI prevention. The fruit is high in a chemical called proanthocyanidin. This compound makes it harder for E. coli bacteria, the common culprit in UTIs, to stick to the bladder wall. It also helps to displace E. coli once it is attached to the bladder wall. The more cranberry you take, the more it works to prevent UTI. You can get cranberry in many forms, including juice and supplements with cranberry extract. It may be cheaper to get supplements than to buy cranberry juice over the long term. It may be healthier to get supplements as well, because cranberry juice contains a lot of sugar. Unsweetened cranberry juice is an option, however many people find it too sour.
- D-mannose: D-mannose has been studied for UTI prevention. It helps prevent UTI by blocking the bacteria from using a protein, FimH, that helps them latch on to the bladder and cause infection. Experts think it may work specifically only against E. coli and other similar bacteria.
- Hibiscus: Although used as a folk medicine for UTI, hibiscus is not well-studied. However, one study showed that it decreased UTI. Scientists think hibiscus may work by reducing inflammation.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been studied for UTI prevention. Although many people assume it helps prevent UTI by making the urine more acidic, this is not the case. Rather, it changes the structure of nitrogen-containing chemicals in the urine which can help stop UTI.
- Dandelion: This plant has long been used as a folk remedy for UTI. Although not specifically studied for UTI prevention, one study showed that dandelion increased how often people passed urine. This may help prevent UTI because bacteria may leave the body through the urine before they have a chance to adhere to the bladder. Dandelion extract comes in many forms including raw leaves and tea. While some enjoy products like dandelion salad, it can be hard to obtain the regular intake of the plant that may be most helpful to stop UTI. Further, other dandelion products like tea have a taste that some people do not enjoy.
- Probiotics: Probiotics have been studied for UTI as well. Doctors think that there may be a role for probiotics in UTI prevention, especially lactobacillus-containing probiotics. However, it should be noted that many studies showing a benefit of probiotics have used vaginal suppositories, and not oral dosage forms.
The Top 6 Supplements for UTI Prevention
If you have ever had a UTI, you probably want to make sure you never have another one. We have researched which urinary health products have the best science to support their use.
Our selections are the top 6 urinary tract health products, with a link to find them on Amazon.
Why we love it: This product contains many of the best-researched supplements to help prevent UTI. D-mannose, cranberry, hibiscus and dandelion are all packed together in a vegan-friendly cellulose capsule.
The product is free of gluten, soy, wheat, dairy and additives. It also contains no genetically modified organisms and is, therefore, non-GMO.
The product is made in the USA and is cGMP certified, meaning that it complies with the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Processes. A single bottle contains 120 capsules. As the serving size is 2 capsules a day, the item will last 60 days. Each serving contains 1000mg of D-mannose, 150mg of cranberry juice powder from the fruit, 150mg of hibiscus flower, and 100mg of dandelion root extract. Since dandelion is related to ragweed, you may want to avoid the product if you have a ragweed allergy. Further, because hibiscus is in the mallow family with marshmallow and hollyhock, it may cause a reaction if you are allergic to those plants.
Amazon users like this product, which is a strong seller among urinary health products. Many reviewers have noted that it seems to prevent or reduce their UTIs.
The capsules are about 1 inch long, however Amazon users have reported they are easy to swallow. For people who have a hard time swallowing capsules, they can be opened and their contents mixed with food.
Why we love it: Although the front of the bottle advertises only the best-known ingredients, d-mannose and cranberry, this product also contains hibiscus and dandelion. Each 2-capsule serving of this product provides 1000mg of d-mannose, 150mg of cranberry fruit powder, 100mg of hibiscus flower extract and 100mg of dandelion root extract. Because each bottle contains 60 capsules, one bottle lasts 30 days.
The capsules are vegetarian, and the manufacturer recommends taking them 20-30 minutes before eating with a glass of water. The product is made in the USA and comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Although the manufacturer states the product is cGMP compliant, it does not carry an official cGMP label.
If you have a ragweed allergy, then you may want to avoid this product because dandelion may cause a reaction. Further, if you are allergic to members of the mallow family like marshmallow or hollyhock, the hibiscus in this product may be allergenic.
Amazon users give this product high ratings and state that it helped stop their UTIs. However, while some users reported no aftertaste, others said they did get an aftertaste.
Further, a few users complained about the size of the capsules and that they were hard to swallow. Other users found them easy to swallow, but did not contradict the claims about large capsule size. Several users also report a mild fruity scent to the capsules.
Why we love it: This product combines three of the most studied ingredients for UTI prevention.
The serving size is one capsule taken twice daily, which contains 600mg of d-mannose, 100mg of cranberry juice extract and 50mg dandelion extract. As 120 capsules are contained in a single bottle, it will last about 2 months.
The product is non-GMO and has a vegetarian capsule. However, it is not certified as vegan. The product, however, is free of soy, wheat, gluten, lactose, yeast and fish. It contains no fillers, binders, preservatives or sweeteners.
Because of this, it is suitable not only for humans, but also for pets who are predisposed to UTI. It is made in the USA, however ingredients are sourced globally. Further, it comes in a recycled bottle. The product is cGMP certified. Because it contains dandelion, which is related to ragweed, people with ragweed allergies may want to avoid this product.
Amazon users like this product and give it high ratings. Reviews note that it seems to help prevent UTI. Some reviewers especially like that the product is easy to swallow and has no aftertaste.
One user commented that they can tolerate the product very easily despite having a stomach that is sensitive to many other supplements.
Why we love it: This item contains ingredients that have been shown to help prevent UTI in several studies.
The product contains 1000mg of d-mannose, 200mg concentrated organic cranberry and 200mg hibiscus flower extract per serving, which is 2 capsules. Because one bottle contains 60 capsules, it will last about a month.
The manufacturer recommends the capsules be taken with a meal and water. The hibiscus extract contains 5% flavones, which are strong antioxidants to stop cell damage, prevent inflammation, and help the body create enzymes to prevent disease. The product has a vegetarian capsule and is vegan-friendly.
The capsules are about 7/8 of an inch long. The capsules contain the inactive ingredients magnesium stearate, which dilutes the active ingredients, and silicon dioxide, which has anti-caking properties. It is made in the USA and is cGMP certified.
Further, the product comes with a money-back guarantee. The product is made in a facility that processes shellfish, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat and dairy. Therefore, if you have an allergy to any of the above, you should avoid this product. Further, as a member of the mallow family, hibiscus may cause a reaction if you are allergic to any other members of the family like marshmallow or hollyhock.
Amazon users generally give this product high ratings. Most users report they are pleased with the product and say it has stopped their UTIs.
However, a few users complained about the safety seal being incompletely sealed on arrival, capsules not looking identical, and getting unwanted emails from the manufacturer.
Why we love it: Although the front of the bottle advertises only the better-known d-mannose, this product also contains hibiscus. Each serving contains 800mg of d-mannose and 200mg of hibiscus flower extract.
The only other ingredients are rice extract, and cellulose to make the vegetarian capsules.
Because the product has 60 capsules and a serving size is 2 capsules once daily, a bottle will last for 30 days. However, the manufacturer gives the option for twice-daily dosing if desired, which means the bottle would last for 15 days under those circumstances. The product is vegetarian and contains no fillers, binders or artificial ingredients. It contains no gluten, wheat or dairy. Further, none of the components were tested on animals.
The product is cGMP certified and is made in the USA, although its components are not necessarily from the USA. Because hibiscus is in the mallow family with marshmallow and hollyhock, if you are allergic to mallows you should avoid this item.
Amazon users like this product and give it high ratings, stating that it helped prevent UTI. Although many users say the capsule is thin and easy to swallow, a few users said it was hard for them.
However, these users also stated that when the capsule was opened, they were able to put the product directly on their tongue, and that it did not have an unpleasant taste.
Why we love it: This product is quite literally pure d-mannose powder.
It has no capsule and no other ingredients – it is simply d-mannose in powder form. The d-mannose is sourced from corn from India, Ireland and China.
The product is non-GMO and cGMP certified. Further, it is both vegan and kosher friendly. It contains 2000mg of d-mannose per teaspoon, and contains about 85 servings per 6 ounce container. The manufacturer recommends taking a level teaspoon once or twice daily with a liquid, meaning that a bottle can last anywhere from a month and a half to almost three months.
Although it does not contain yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish or tree nuts, it is made in a facility that processes these products. Therefore, if you are allergic to the above you may want to avoid this item.
Amazon users like this product, giving it a high rating and crediting it with preventing UTIs.
Although UTIs are very unpleasant, you may be able to prevent them or reduce their frequency. Using both non-pharmacologic strategies and supplements may help stop UTIs.
Although if you have UTI symptoms you should seek medical attention, many people have found that UTIs can be prevented without taking antibiotics.