The decision to take antibiotics or natural supplement can be complicated, especially when UTIs occur often. Antibiotics often cause acute intestinal discomfort and lead to the depletion of important probiotics that help you digest food and maintain a healthy GI tract. Also, antibiotic resistance can cause the medications to become less effective for the treatment of UTIs and also other bacterial infections, which can make you more susceptible to resistant strains and leave you with fewer tools to combat life-threatening illnesses. Therefore, antibiotics may be considered tools of last resort when treating recurring urinary tract infections. It may be wise to use them only when other options have not been effective.


Specific natural supplements have been shown to help prevent UTIs even in the most resistant cases and have little-to-no side effects. These include D-mannose, cranberry extract, probiotics/prebiotics and Vitamin C.


D-mannose helps prevent certain kinds of bacteria like E. coli from attaching to the walls of the bladder and lower urinary tract. The nutrient is chemically attracted to compounds called lectins which bacteria also uses to attach itself to the walls of the urinary tract. Once D-mannose occupies the lectins, they are unable to attach to the wall of the urinary tract, the bacteria are flushed out of the body through urination.


Cranberry extract also helps to prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to cell walls, but it does so through another process. Without the ability to attach, bacteria cannot cause a UTI.


Since most pathogenic bacteria that cause urogenital infections originate in the rectum and travel to the perineal area and then on to the vagina, intestinal probiotics such as L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, and L. fermentes reside in these areas may help to prevent bacterial infections there. Prebiotics such as FOS (fructooligosaccharides) stimulate microflora, especially probiotics, by providing basic nutrition and energy for their health and propagation.


Vitamin C can specifically help in the prevention of UTIs through various modes of action such as its ability to alter the pH of urine to create unfavorable conditions for bacteria to survive. It also causes the reduction of urinary nitrites to more benign compounds such as reactive nitrogen oxides.


If you desire to avoid the often serious side effects caused by antibiotics, and prefer to maintain a natural health lifestyle, these five nutrients may be the most effective and natural way to avoid UTIs.