No, my doctor didn’t tell me about UTI prevention with probiotics, it was me who told him.
What did my doctors and nurses tell me to do for UTI prevention? Drink water, pee before and after sex and eventually, when none of this worked, take preventive antibiotics.
I could not personally comply with taking antibiotics until the rest of my life and wanted to find an alternative option. This is how I came across research about probiotics and UTI.
My First UTI
The nurse sent in my prescription for antibiotics warned me to take all of them even if the symptoms go away and also gave me the “lifestyle instructions”. Mainly she advised that I pee before and after sex, wipe from front to back and urinate frequently.
Frankly, I do not like taking antibiotics but if I do, I follow the instructions precisely. I knew that antibiotics work like a death squad: they kill bad, but also some beneficial bacteria.
However, I thought since I eat yogurt regularly I should be fine. The drugs helped almost instantly and I thought I would never have a UTI again.
Shortly After – My Second UTI
A couple of weeks later, during a road trip to Colorado, I felt the familiar symptoms. I’ve got to tell you, my first UTI outbreak was horribly painful and developed super fast. Within the first couple of hours, I was peeing with blood and dying from pain.
So the second time I wasn’t thinking too long and called the doctor again. They made me come in, took a urine sample (yep, it was E. coli) and gave me a prescription for yet another antibiotic.
And of course, the nurse repeated the well-known “pee after sex” mantra as the best way to go about UTI prevention.
Third and Forth UTIs & Antibiotic Prevention
My “wake up call” was when my doctor said that the next step is to take a preventive dose of antibiotics every time after sex. Basically, just take a pill every other day in my case. That’s way too much even from a layman’s perspective!
I started researching the issue.
It is not easy to find answers online since there are too many opinions and all kinds of “kitchen pantry” solutions. By then I had already tried cranberry pills, blueberries, and echinacea.
Baking soda helped to relieve the pain for a while but never “cured” the infection. Fortunately, I found an article on PubMed, that had research on UTI prevention and probiotics.
…Before we proceed any further, make sure you understand the mechanics of why sex causes UTI. This post will explain to you why if you are having UTIs after sex, you need to take care of your vaginal flora first. For a graphic version and detailed explanation see this infographic.
My Solution: UTI Prevention With Probiotics
Probiotics work in your body to help grow beneficial bacteria and bacterial flora is increasingly recognized as an important defense to infection. These beneficial bacteria help to “restrain” E. coli, the cause of most UTIs on the planet. Now imagine, every time you take antibiotics, you kill E. coli but you also kill these beneficial bacteria in your body.
Right after your infection has been cured with antibiotics you actually become more vulnerable to re-infection with E. coli again! And given that the main source of E. coli is always there for you (your own asshole, pardon my French) it makes total sense that recurrent UTIs are so widespread.
Every time you take antibiotics, you kill E. coli but you also kill these beneficial bacteria in your gut and vagina.
What is more important, probiotics are safe to use with no side effects, safe for the elderly, pregnant women and kids and sold over the counter. This is the best UTI prevention you can implement today (these statements reflect my personal opinion and are not verified by FDA).
In my opinion, there is really no risk in suggesting probiotics to anybody. It should be a logical continuation for patients treated with antibiotics.
I believe, recommending UTI prevention with probiotics is so much more valuable than the classic “pee before and after sex” advice.
I spent about $30 on a monthly supply of potent probiotics.
Needless to say, yogurt and kefir should be also part of the plan, but probiotics in these products are low in concentration (and are also not the type that your vagina needs).
The brand I bought at Walgreens advertised targeted delivery of the probiotics to my “lady parts”, which sounded like exactly the place where I needed them.
Products for UTI Prevention With Probiotics
If you’d like to learn more about how to choose the right probiotics, check out this post about probiotic strains that are most useful for restoring vaginal flora.
Here are couple brands of the probiotics (I used RepHresh Pro-B which nowadays is much cheaper than it was when I first bought it), which have the right strains:
1) RepHresh Pro-B Probiotic Feminine Supplement
2) Douglas Laboratories iFlora Multi-Probiotic
3) Jarrow Formulas Fem-Dophilus
UTI Prevention With Probiotics? My Doctor Agrees
Three months after my experiment with the probiotics I wrote an email to my doctor telling him about my discovery. He thanked me for sharing and replied: “we are seeing more benefits from probiotics, so I could definitely see how it could work”. Duh?
I also posted comments on a couple of UTI related sites with the same information and finally, decided to start this blog.
Thanks to the Internet nowadays the results of medical trials and research are no longer just for the doctors. I suggest you take matters into your own hands and see if probiotics can help you to break the cycle of recurrent UTIs.
As always, a quick reminder: I’m not a physician and this is strictly my opinion. I highly encourage you to follow the links I provided above and form your own opinion. If you decide to start on probiotics for UTI prevention, make sure to check with your physician.