As someone who has suffered from urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the past, I know all too well the pain and discomfort they can cause. I’m always looking for ways to prevent UTIs from happening and recently heard about probiotics. Could this be the answer? Well, the research says that probiotics can indeed help prevent UTIs, so let’s take a look at how!
MEET THE EXPERTS
Felice Gersh, M.D. OB/GYN, author of PCOS SOS Fertility Fast Track
Daniella Levy, founder of Happy V
It all comes down to the bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help balance out the bacteria in your gut. When there is an imbalance, such as when bad bacteria overtake good bacteria, it can create an environment perfect for UTIs to thrive. But when good bacteria, like probiotics, are introduced, it can help keep the bad bacteria at bay and reduce your risk of UTIs.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Have you ever experienced a burning sensation when you go to the bathroom? Or felt like you had to pee but nothing came out? These are just some of the telltale signs of a urinary tract infection. Other symptoms can include a strong urge to pee, pain in your lower abdomen and back, cloudy urine, and a strong odor in your urine.
Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
UTIs are caused when bacteria from the skin or feces enter into your urethra. This can happen with poor hygiene, or wearing tight clothing that traps bacteria close to your body. Other common causes include sexual intercourse and holding in your pee for too long. All of these can create the perfect environment for bacteria to enter your body and cause an infection.
How Probiotics Can Help Prevent UTIs
Taking probiotics can help prevent UTIs in a few ways. It helps support the good bacteria in your gut, which can help to fight off the bad bacteria and create an environment that isn’t ideal for UTIs. It also helps to strengthen your immune system, making it harder for bacteria to penetrate your body. Here are some of the benefits probiotics offer for UTI prevention:
– Strengthens the immune system
– Enhances healthy gut and vaginal bacteria
– Helps reduce the risk of UTIs
– Supports healthy urinary tract functions
– Helps reduce inflammation in the body
– May provide relief from UTI symptoms
– Can help relieve lactose intolerance
– Can improve unpleasant odor in exhaled breath
– Can help relieve various food and skin allergies
– Some strains can help improve heart health
Probiotics or Prebiotics
“A prebiotic is anything that helps the efficiency and effectiveness of a probiotic. It serves as that source of fuel for the probiotic to get to work,” Levy explains. “Essentially, probiotics need a fuel source to repopulate in the vagina and gut in order to fight off harmful bacteria. Combining probiotics and prebiotics ensures your body is getting the healthiest and most optimal bacterial colonies in your gut and vaginal flora.”
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For How Long Should Probiotics Be Taken
Probiotics are usually safe to take long-term, but the exact length of time will depend on your individual needs. For UTI prevention, some people may find that taking probiotics for several months is enough to see benefits. However, if you’re prone to recurring UTIs, it may be helpful to take probiotics for a longer period of time. “Diets, exercise, intimacy—all of these factors vary from person to person and they all affect how and when probiotics work. Some people may see the effects of probiotics after 48-hours of having taken the appropriate dosage, for others it could take several weeks,” Levy says.
When To Seek Medical Treatment
“For a UTI, if you have no flank pain, nausea, or fever, and when not pregnant and not immune suppressed, it’s best to try to self-treat for up to three days,” Dr. Gersh advises. “If extremely miserable, take the over-the-counter bladder numbing medicine and contact your physician.”
After consistently taking them for 6 months, I saw a dramatic improvement in my symptoms. I felt more energized and less prone to recurrent UTIs. My sex life also improved, with less pain, burning sensations, and fewer UTI-related flares. Taking probiotics made my life so much better and it’s proof that simple changes can make a huge difference.
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