If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you know pain. According to the statistics, they affect 150 million people per year, worldwide, so that means 150 million of you know that UTIs are the ACTUAL WORST.
In fact, by age 35, about half of women will have experienced a UTI. 20% of women aged 18-24 will get a UTI once per year! Not the kind of thing you want happening on an annual basis.
I fell into this category myself, as I struggled with recurring UTIs for years and years. It was horrible. I would take antibiotics multiple times per year, and it actually got to the point that my doctor had a standing prescription for me. This is not ideal as it increases risk of developing an antibiotic-resistant UTI which is really, really bad news.
Obviously, this was long before I’d ever heard the words “gut microbiome” or knew that taking multiple courses of antibiotics was not exactly ideal.
The thing is that, when a UTI strikes antibiotics are pretty much necessary. Since I’ve never had luck treating a full-fledged urinary tract infection 100% naturally, I believe strongly in preventing them from occurring in the first place.
It’s been about 2 years since my last UTI (win!), so I want to share what ended up working for me, and the tips and tricks I learned along the way. I’ve teamed up with Genuine Health for this post, since they just released their advanced gut health probiotic women’s UTI, which is specifically formulated to prevent urinary tract infections. I love this product because it combines a lot of my tips into one daily supplement. The Genuine Health advanced gut health probiotic women’s UTI also contains strains specifically selected to support skin, vaginal, and (of course!) gut health. Keep reading and I’ll explain how to use it as a part of the routine I adopted to prevent UTIs personally.
1. Eat a High-Fibre, Low-Sugar Diet
When I was suffering with chronic UTIs, I was also completely addicted to sugar. Not like the “I keep Tootsie Rolls in my desk” kind of sugar addiction, I would start my day with a huge bowl of gluten-free corn pops and sweetened soymilk then skip lunch in favour of multiple bottles sugary juice throughout the afternoon.
I also baked a fresh batch of cookies every single night.
I am not kidding, if you tracked down my roommates from this time, they can attest to the fact that I constantly had cookies or cupcakes in the oven. Looking back, I’m sure I was consuming well over 200g sugar per day. Kind of scary.
The problem with a high sugar diet is that it increases inflammation and feeds all the wrong types of bacteria. This combined with repeat use of antibiotics was a recipe for UTIs, I just didn’t know it at the time. Even when I changed my diet to contain fewer added sugars, I would still eat huge amounts of fruit (I’m talking 5+ bananas a day).
The situation didn’t really improve until I started eating a normal amount of fruit (2-3 servings per day), and limiting added sugars. This, combined with a high-fibre diet really helped to bring my microbiome back into balance since fibre also feeds the food bacteria in your gut.
2. Take Probiotics and Eat Probiotic-Containing Foods
Taking probiotics was a game changer for me, and the biggest benefit was that I stopped getting UTIs. In fact, when I see clients who struggle with recurring UTIs or yeast infections, I always ensure they leave my office with a probiotic in hand.
Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, etc. do contain probiotics, but I still recommend taking a probiotic. Fermented foods contain varying strains of bacteria in varying amounts, while probiotic supplements are formulated to contain clinically proven strains. It’s not that one approach is better when we are talking about optimizing microbiome health, I think both are important and have a place.
These are the specific strains to look for if you’re struggling with UTIs or yeast infections, as they are proven to protect against uropathogens and balance vaginal pH:
- L. rhamnosus
- L. fermentum
- L. gasseri
- L. acidophilus
One of the reasons I’m loving the Genuine Health advanced gut health probiotic women’s UTI is that it was formulated to contain all of these strains. It’s also shelf stable, so I keep it in the bathroom next to my toothbrush (and vitamin D3!) so I don’t forget to take it. The best time of day to take your probiotic is the time of day that’s most convenient for you! Taking it in the morning or before bed works best for most people.
3. Stay Super Duper Hydrated
The more frequently you urinate, the less time bacteria will have to multiply in your bladder. Going to the washroom a lot might be annoying at first, but I’ll take frequent peeing over a UTI any day!
Aim for half your body weight in ounces as an absolute minimum. If you do a sweaty workout or live in a hot climate, you’ll need to increase based on that.
If you’re not a big water drinker, you can add chlorophyll or cut up fruit and herbs to your water to make it a little more tempting. Here are some of my favourite combos:
- Cucumber + fresh mint
- Strawberry + fresh basil
- Orange + a cinnamon stick
- Grapefruit + a sprig of rosemary
- Lemon + parsley
- Lime + cilantro
It’s also important to remember to pee before and after certain bedroom activities, if you know what I mean. This tip is key… I cannot stress it enough!
4. Take a Cranberry Supplement
When I first started experiencing recurring UTIs, I would drink “cranberry juice” (aka. apple/grapejuice with heaps of added sugar and a few drops of cranberry juice) by the bottle. It didn’t help, and all the added sugars actually made the issue worse.
Cranberry supplements were the ultimate game changer for my UTIs. At first I would take them only when I started experiencing symptoms and that helped me avoid antibiotics sometimes, but when I started taking them daily I stopped getting them at all.
Cranberry works because it prevents the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections from being able to multiply. Once a UTI starts, the bacterial colony multiplies so quickly that it doubles in number every hour! That’s why a little tingle evolves into a full-blown stabbing pain in such a short period of time.
When you take cranberry regularly, you prevent the bacteria from adhering to the walls of your urinary tract where is multiplies, creates a biofilm, and causes a serious issue requiring antibiotic treatment.
Taking a lot of supplements is annoying, and I found myself losing motivation to take cranberry once a few UTI-free months passed. This is why I am so, so obsessed with the Genuine Health advanced gut health probiotic women’s UTI, because they added organic whole fruit cranberry powder right into the plastic-free, delayed release capsule – CRAN naturelle™.
I’m not a fan of taking multiple pills every day, so I really appreciate this efficiency. This is why, for me, it’s a new staple for supporting the overall health of all my little bacteria pals. If you want to try it yourself you can click here to find a store near you that carries it!
If you have any tips that have helped you with UTIs, leave a comment so I can share what works for you guys! If you already have a UTI, please be sure to go to your doctor since untreated UTIs can progress into a more serious issue. Incorporate these tips into your daily life to prevent future UTIs.
Disclaimer: this post was created in partnership with Genuine Health, which lets me support my blog and continue to provide tons of valuable free content to you. Sponsorships are carefully considered and I only accept partnerships with brands I love, buy from, and 100% believe in. I am so grateful to be able to help people with the work I do, and partnerships like these make it possible!