Prevention is the best way to reduce your risk, and I’ve got a “secret weapon” to help
Many women suffer from isolated and recurrent bladder infections. The first line of treatment for bladder infections is often antibiotics, which kill the bacteria causing the infection. Unfortunately, it can also cause side effects, such as killing the “good” bacteria in our gut and increase risks of allergic reactions.
A bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is a common form of urinary tract infection (UTI). Women and girls develop UTIs more frequently than men and boys. Due to the short length of the female urethra and its proximity to the anus and vagina, these infections are often caused by bacteria from fecal matter or vaginal discharge traveling up through the urethra and into the bladder. For grown men, most bladder infections are complications from kidney or prostate infections.
The initial signs of bladder infection are usually frequent, strong urges to urinate and pain during urination. Some people experience fever, pain in the lower back and flanks, chills or nausea and vomiting. Such symptoms indicate that the infection has spread to the upper urinary tract.
The best way to lower your risk for a bladder infection is to address prevention. Some of the most effective steps you can take are to increase water and fluid intake, urinate more frequently to flush out the unwanted debris and bacteria, urinate after sex, and even use natural supplements.
The most commonly used natural supplement is cranberry juice or pills. In my many years as a urologist, I find this to work well for my patients, but there is a “secret weapon” that I prefer.
Many supplements are marketed with “proprietary” blends. Basically, this means you are paying more for a combination of supplements instead of purchasing the core ingredients. Most of these blends contain a natural ingredient found in many fruits called d-mannose. I usually recommend using d-mannose in the capsule form (500 mg). The NOW brand can be found for about $18 for120 capsules, a reduced price from proprietary blends.
How d-mannose helps prevent bladder infection
D-mannose works by preventing bacteria from sticking to your bladder wall. It is important to note that you need to drink lots of fluid and urinate frequently to get maximum cleansing effect. Otherwise the bacteria will remain in your bladder causing the common symptoms of bladder infection, such as burning, urgency and abdominal pain.
You can take d-mannose as a preventive measure against bladder infections. If you recognize symptoms of a bladder infection, start with a dose of two pills twice daily. In the unfortunate circumstance that you develop a full infection, three pills three times a day is a better starting dose. However, if your symptoms are significant, you should seek advice by your doctor, and antibiotics may be necessary.
As is the case for many supplements, always look at the ingredients, specifically the “active” ones. You might be surprised to find a nonproprietary blend sold for less!