She's Really Busy RN with a UTI: Top Supplement Recommendations for Prevention and Healing
I have dealt with chronic UTIs for over a decade. If you have too, don’t be embarrassed! According to an NIH study, around 50% to 60% of women will develop UTIs in their lifetime. A urinary tract infection is so common, that it accounts for nearly 1 out of 4 of all infections in women.
So, why do we shy away from talking about it? I was always self conscious when it happened and how frequently it was happening. Especially if new partners came into my life - how do I discuss something like this with them? Constant antibiotics were an adjustment and I began to suffer from side effects.
As I have delved deeper into my health journey, I have been learning which supplements and routines work for my body. Not only after the fact but also as preventative measures. It is important to maintain your body and not rush the healing process because UTIs can lead to much bigger issues down the road.
During the worst time of my life, pre-diagnosis of Endometriosis, I was constantly at the University of Maryland health clinic for UTIs. I distinctly remember screaming in pain on the floor of my apartment and one of my friends trying to help me through it. Eventually, I was sent back to my primary doctor for treatment since I lived in-state. From there, I was given a lifetime prescription of antibiotics. I thought this was the solution until about a year ago.
I started speaking more openly about my issues and found a wealth of knowledge in return. The following are routines and supplements I use for myself. I am NOT a doctor. If you are thinking of drastically changing your routine, please consult with your physician first. This is what has largely worked for me. After my diagnosis, my UTIs slowed down but not completely. They would come out of “nowhere” or if I was even remotely dehydrated or after sex, I could just FEEL it coming. And if you’ve experienced UTIs like I have, you KNOW what I’m talking about.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions of your own I’d love to here them!
WATER, WATER AND MORE WATER
I KNOW water is not a supplement but this is THE most important thing when it comes to preventing and curing a UTI. Water is crucial for flushing out the infection as well as preventing your body from developing an infection. Trust. Drink the water. Just do it. I try to drink 100 fluid ounces a day and you should, too! Your body will thank you.
Seriously. Also not a supplement but very important. If you are sexually active - GET IT GIRL - pee before and ESPECIALLY after sex. Make sure you are sleeping with someone you are comfortable enough to share a HEALTHY routine with! It is so important to share that connection with someone who is on a level of understanding with you. This way, everyone can have a super fun sex life YAY. Also we all have sex or want to have sex so if you’re blushing at this - get over it! Where do you think you came from?!
Clinton and Bey wanna carry hot sauce but I’m the Antibiotics queen! You know these bad boys are jiggling away in my purse. SO FUN. This is a prescription I always have on hand but try not to rely on. I currently have a standing prescription for Nitrofurantoin or more commonly known as Macrobid. Side effects with prolonged use can be pretty gnarly, especially when it comes to nausea, weight gain and gut health. Talk to your doctor about your relationship with antibiotics! They may not be the answer every time!
This supplement has been a LIFE SAVER and I’m not kidding. Just read some of the reviews on Amazon. When I was truly starting to ween myself off of antibiotics, this was truly what changed the game. Why? It contains D Mannose and Hibiscus Extract. D Mannose is known for it’s help in the battle of feminine health care and assists in flushing impurities. It also helps prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of your urinary tract. When I was recommended this product, I was slightly skeptical but I still am amazed at the results.
(BTW I am not an affiliate for any of these products, not even on Amazon. I will disclose when/if I am. I honestly do not know if I believe in affiliate programs for items like this because I genuinely just want to put the information out there and I would hate to gain money off of something that doesn’t actually help you.)
Another fan favorite. Me being the fan and it’s definitely my [second] favorite. Now be careful with these! Oregano pills shouldn’t be taken in the longterm, although I’ve seen arguments for both long and short term use and associated risks. Oregano is essentially Mother Nature’s most natural antibiotic. It also assists in warding off yeast infections! Be careful taking this right with your pro-biotic as it can affect your gut health. I personally have been using these since December with my regular routine and find it extremely beneficial.
This has been a hotly debated supplement for the prevention and treatment of UTIs. On it’s own, I haven’t had much luck with it in the “curing” department but I highly recommend it for prevention! Cranberries do contain an active ingredient that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall, particularly E. coli. But that doesn’t mean to start chugging the nearest sugar-filled Cranberry Juice! Make sure you are getting the RIGHT kind of cranberries or you’ll end up with a buttload of sugary crap.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids assist in reducing inflammation. This pesky side affect is what makes that burning sensation and every other symptom of a UTI 10x worse. Fish Oil also helps with other aspects of your health as well, especially your heart!
While this doesn’t necessarily assist with UTIs directly, it is helpful to take a Vitamin D while your body processes these other supplements. It helps absorb calcium and promotes bone strength which can translate to cramping. Vitamin D is a great supplement for women who are at risk of developing osteoporosis as well.
Feeling particularly slumped with your UTI? Vitamin B is on the way to help! Stress hormones add tension to your metabolic processes and your body begins using more Vitamin B to keep you going, but ultimately leaves you feeling in a fog. Vitamin B is a great way to get your body balanced and promote healthy energy while you beat the UTI! WOOHOO GO YOUR BODY YAH!
If you are taking antibiotics at any point, you MUST take a pro-biotic! These are GOOD bacteria! Straight from the Urogynecology of University of Colorado:
“One area where probiotics have been studied is in women with recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). A UTI results from the transmission of pathogens from the rectum and/or vagina to the urethra and bladder. Lactobacillus is recognized as an important part of the normal flora in the female genitourinary tract and the reduction in numbers increases the risk of UTI.”
In less words, the good bacteria beats the bad bacteria and helps protect and promote the natural flora in women.
Then you ask - What the hell is natural flora?!
“Gut flora, or gut microbiota, or gastrointestinal microbiota, is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, including insects.”
This type of magnesium is easier for our body to absorb and is known for having less side effects compared to other magnesium supplements. Make sure you do your own research and consult with your doctor on WHEN and HOW to take your supplements. I know it’s easiest to just take them all at once but your body absorbs things differently at different times. Make sure you are doing your due diligence here because otherwise, these supplements will be less helpful and a big waste of money!