Probiotics: One of the Best Ways To Treat UTIs Without Antibiotics
Probiotics for UTIs in a nutshell:
Probiotics aid the human body in balancing good and bad bacteria, which can protect the body from infections, such as Urinary Tract Infections. Urinary Tract Infections are bacterial infection that affects your urinary tract.
The standard care for UTIs is the use of antibiotics. With the rise in antibiotic resistance, probiotics can be a great tool in protecting the body from infection. Probiotics are made with varying bacteria.
Finding the right probiotic for your issues is important. VitaBright's Super Strength Cranberry Probiotic Complex has been specially formulated with the specific bacteria to help aid in the prevention and treatment of UTIs.
What are probiotics and can they be used to treat a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Read on to find out everything you need to know about one of the best ways to treat a UTI without antibiotics.
Introducing probiotics for UTIs
A UTI is a painful and unpleasant experience. Unfortunately, it is also the second most common infection to occur in humans, affecting 150 million people across the globe each year.
Taking an antibiotic course is the conventional and most effective treatment for a UTI, but it is not the only option available when it comes to relieving the symptoms associated with the infection.
Along with prescription medicine, you can boost your body’s defence system with the aid of home remedies. One of the most popular home remedies used in treating a UTI is probiotics.
Probiotics are essentially live bacteria that are good for you. They help keep your body well balanced and aid in digestion. Foods that are rich in probiotics can be an effective way to avail their health benefits. You can also take probiotic supplements to make sure that you have adequate amounts of healthy bacteria in your body.
So, how exactly do probiotics work and how can they help in treating a UTI?
In this article, we will cover all the details you need to know about probiotics and how to use them to combat a UTI or prevent a recurring infection.
What do you need to know about probiotics?
What are probiotics?
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, coupled with the World Health Organization (WHO), have defined probiotics as “live microorganisms, that when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
In simple terms, this means that probiotics are strains of live microorganisms that occur naturally in the human body and help keep you healthy. They are often viewed as “good” bacteria. The human microbiome is composed of both good and bad bacteria, co-existing in a delicate state of balance. Probiotics help maintain this balance.
During an infection, like a UTI, when the bad bacteria in your body outnumber the good bacteria, this carefully maintained balance is thrown off. When your body’s balance is off, probiotics can help bring everything back into alignment. Probiotics help protect the body from becoming overrun by bad bacteria.
Rich sources of probiotics include food like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, pickles, and soft cheeses. Supplements are also a popular way to boost the probiotic count in your body.
A probiotic is classified based on the microorganisms that compose it. The description on a supplement bottle includes information like the strain, genus, and species of the microorganism. Certain probiotic supplements are composed of more than one species of bacteria, making them broad-spectrum probiotics.
The composition of each probiotic is important to note because varying supplements offer their own unique set of health benefits based on which bacteria they’re made of. For example, the genus Bifidobacteria works towards strengthening the body’s natural immunity, preventing the maturation of bad bacteria, and aiding the digestion of lactose.
Lactobacillus produces the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. It also makes the uptake of minerals in the human body more efficient. Along with this, the bacteria secretes lactic acid, which kills off harmful bacteria.
What is the role of probiotics?
In recent years, as more and more health benefits of probiotics have come to light, the probiotic supplement industry has boomed, earning over 40 billion USD. This amount is expected to increase to more than 64 billion USD by 2023.
Here we have compiled a comprehensive list of the role of probiotic supplements and why taking them is a good idea:
- They may help prevent and treat gastrointestinal diseases. Probiotics are most commonly used to treat IBS and IBD. One research study revealed that broad-spectrum probiotic supplements used for a minimum of eight weeks helped alleviate IBS symptoms. The strain Lactobacillus acidophilus is particularly potent in treating gastrointestinal distress.
- They may help relieve constipation and diarrhoea. Research studies conducted have indicated that certain strains of bacteria in probiotics are especially adept at treating diarrhoea. These include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii. Probiotics containing Bifidobacterium lactis may be useful in treating constipation, however, more detailed studies need to be conducted to confirm this.
- They help prevent and treat UTIs. Research studies have determined that probiotics may be successful in treating women who get recurrent UTIs. Evidence collected points towards Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 being the most potent probiotics in relieving symptoms of a UTI.
- They may increase immune strength. Studies have determined that using probiotics may boost your body’s immune system.
- They may have an anti-depressant effect. Research points toward the fact that probiotics could help alleviate the symptoms of depression, but there is not yet enough conclusive evidence to fully support this claim.
- They may help in weight loss. Since probiotics play a part in maintaining gut health, research suggests that they could help in treating metabolic disorders and losing unhealthy weight.
- They may reduce the risks of heart disease. Studies have shown that probiotic use could help in decreasing the number of lipids in the blood, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
How do probiotics work?
Probiotics function by keeping the number of healthy and harmful bacteria in your body balanced.
As mentioned earlier, the human body contains a balance of both good and bad bacteria. When an infection occurs, the body becomes unbalanced, and the harmful bacteria outnumber the good bacteria.
Although there is not enough information regarding the exact mechanism of a probiotics action inside the body, it is believed that they help maintain health in two main ways:
- Restoring the healthy bacteria in your body that is lost after an infection or an antibiotic course.
- Destroying excess harmful bacteria in your body to make sure that it does not outnumber the good bacteria.
What do you need to know about a UTI?
What is a UTI and what causes it?
So, now that you know what a probiotic is and how it works, you need to understand what can cause a UTI and how the right probiotic strain can help you treat one.
A UTI is a bacterial infection that affects components of your urinary tract, such as your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. UTIs most commonly occur in the lower portion of the urinary tract, which consists of the bladder and the urethra.
If a UTI occurs in the kidneys, it is called pyelonephritis. If it occurs in the bladder, it is called cystitis, and if it occurs in the urethra, it is called urethritis.
The causative agent in a UTI is bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra, which is a hollow organ that transports urine from the bladder to outside your body.
The most common type of bacteria that causes a urinary tract infection is Escherichia coli (E.coli). This bacteria is normally found in the gut and faecal matter. If it enters the urethra from the anus, it can lead to a UTI.
There are several risk factors associated with developing a UTI, the majority of which are compiled below:
- UTIs are more prevalent in women than men. This is because females have shorter urethras than males, which decreases the distance between the urethra and the bladder. This means that it is easier for bacteria to travel up to a woman's bladder than a man’s. Research has indicated that around 20 to 30 percent of women suffer from recurring UTIs.
- For women, increased sexual activity, as well as different sexual partners, increases the risks of contracting a UTI.
- Women are also more prone to developing a UTI after menopause because of a decrease in estrogen levels.
- Women who use birth control mechanisms like diaphragms or spermicides are at a greater risk of developing a UTI.
- For both men and women, using a catheter increases the risk of developing a UTI.
- Structural abnormalities in the urinary tract also increase the chance of contracting a UTI.
- Obstruction in the urinary tract, caused by kidney stones or inflamed prostate, can lead to a stagnant collection of urine, which is an optimal site for bacteria to accumulate and cause an infection.
- A weakened immune system also increases the risks of an infection in the urinary tract.
- A recent examination of the urinary tract or a surgical procedure in that area can also be a risk factor in developing UTIs.
What are the signs and symptoms of a UTI?
A urinary tract infection may not always be easily recognizable, but some of the hallmark signs and symptoms are as follows:
- A strong urge to urinate
- Urinating very frequently
- A painful, burning sensation experienced when urinating
- Experiencing urine incontinence, which means that your urine involuntarily leaks at times
- Urine that is red or black due to the presence of blood
- Urine that appears opaque
- Fever, nausea, and vomiting
- Discomfort or pain experienced during sex
- Pain in the pelvis or lower back
- Foul-smelling urine
It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with a UTI so that you can go to your doctor and confirm the presence of an infection. This leads to being treated early on and preventing any further complications. This means that you are less likely to suffer from any complications or recurrent infections.
The complications of a UTI can include acute kidney infection which may cause permanent kidney damage. Along with this, you could also suffer from sepsis or kidney failure if the infection reaches up to your kidneys.
How can a UTI be treated?
The golden standard for treating a UTI is antibiotic therapy. The type of antibiotics your doctor prescribes depends on the severity of your infection.
If you are suffering from a UTI, it is important to seek out a health care provider as soon as possible, but in the meantime, you can alleviate your symptoms with the help of non-allopathic remedies.
Here we have compiled some of the steps you can practice to relieve the pain associated with a UTI:
- Taking probiotics
- Drinking lots of water
- Urinating when you first feel the urge to
- Using a heat compress
- Practicing sanitary sex
- Maintaining hygiene
- Wiping yourself from the front to the back
Although all of these techniques are useful, the most popular non-antibiotic method to treat a UTI is by taking probiotics.
How can Probiotics be used to treat a UTI?
The severity or recurrence of a UTI may be curbed if the urinary microbiome has a strong defence mechanism.
The word microbiome pertains to the microorganism community living in a specific environment. The Human Microbiome Project has inspected the microbiome at numerous points in the human body such as the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, and the vagina. Studying each microbiome is crucial in understanding how each part of the body functions normally, and how it functions in sickness when its microbiome is disrupted.
Initially, scientists did not believe that the urinary bladder consisted of its microbiome because the urinary tract was believed to be completely sterile.
In recent years, however, scientists have used newly developed high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques to examine the urinary tract more closely. This has led to them finding traces of microbes in the urinary tract.
The microorganisms discovered in the urinary tract make up the urinary microbiome or ‘urobiome’.
Currently, researchers have not agreed upon a unified standard of what a healthy urinary microbiome should look like. This is because the urinary microbiome depends on numerous factors like age, gender, use of antibiotics, fluid levels, incontinence, sexual activity, and comorbidities.
One certain thing: the urinary microbiome, like all other microbiomes in the body, functions to protect the urinary tract from pathogenic microorganisms from the outside or different locations inside the body.
Since the urinary microbiome has a role in protecting the urinary tract from harmful bacteria, its effectiveness could be amplified by the use of probiotics, which also function as ‘good’ bacteria.
Although antibiotics are the golden standard for UTI treatment, resistance to antibiotics is becoming increasingly common. This has become a major issue with over 2 million people in the United States being infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year. In cases like these, probiotics are a great non-antibiotic treatment option for UTIs.
Using probiotics strengthens the urinary microbiome thus decreasing the chances of contracting a UTI in the first place. Any invading bacteria will be significantly weakened by the urinary microbiome, making it easier for the body to fight it. This means that probiotics hold the possibility of strengthening the effects of administered antibiotics.
A one-year-long study conducted in 2008 showed how using a probiotic combination was able to decrease the number of UTIs at the end of the year.
The study comprised a group of 252 post-menopausal women suffering from frequently recurring UTIs. The women were divided into two groups: one group was given a probiotic combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14; while the other group was given the antibiotic trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole. Both groups were instructed to take their respective medication daily for a year.
After a year, the results showed that the number of UTIs decreased to half in both groups. The antibiotic group saw UTIs drop from 7 to 2.9, while the probiotic group saw UTIs drop from 6.8 to 3.3.
What is also important to note is that antibiotic resistance increased in the antibiotic group from 20% to as much as 95%. In the probiotic group, no antibiotic resistance was seen to develop.
This study strongly suggests that probiotics could strengthen the urinary microbiome and help prevent and treat UTIs.
Along with probiotics, cranberries are a good home remedy for combating UTIs. Research suggests that cranberry juice, dried cranberries, and cranberry supplements all can prevent and treat UTIs.
If you want to start using probiotics to prevent or treat UTIs, look no further than our Super Strength Cranberry Probiotic Complex. Our unique formula incorporates a probiotic mix, along with the goodness of Vitamin C and Cranberry, to create a supplement guaranteed to help fight infection and support urinary tract health.
Suffering from recurrent UTIs is a situation anyone would want to avoid, and with alarmingly increasing antibiotic resistance rates, it would be a good idea to invest in strengthening your urinary tract health by taking probiotics.
When it comes down to what probiotic supplement you should take, VitaBright’s Advanced Multi-Strain Probiotic Complex is a great option that includes 17 strains - offering a variety of health benefits, including protection against UTIs.
VitaBright's Potent Cranberry Probiotic Complex has been formulated specifically to protect against UTI's and to support healthy vaginal flora, containing a higher strength dose of specific strains to deliver these benefits.
Whatever probiotic supplement you take, it is important that you do your research regarding its formulation and the strains of bacteria incorporated in it.
By reading an article like this, you have already equipped yourself with the background information you need on probiotics and their role in treating UTIs. This is an important first step in taking charge of your health and working on improving your body’s immune system.
To properly diagnose and manage a UTI, you should seek out a doctor and take the antibiotics prescribed to you. Taking a probiotic along with that is added protection.
Super Strength Cranberry Probiotic Complex