Research suggests probiotics may be effective in treating urinary tract infections, especially in women.
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria found in the gut. They promote digestion, immunity, and mental health by fighting inflammation and invaders in the body.
The National Center for Biotechnological Information reported
that since lactobacilli — a genre of probiotics — populate the urogenital flora in healthy women, consuming them may be effective in treating those who have UTIs by recolonizing the area, specifically in postmenopausal women, who are more likely to contract the infection.
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Without the vaginal lactobacilli, bad bacteria, such as E. coli, can live in the body and cause pain and infections, Live Science reported
. UTIs are the second most common infection in the body.
Additionally, Life Extension mentioned that probiotics
help to monitor the immune system in combating the infection.
Studies showed the probiotics effective even when it came to women who have incurred multiple urinary tract infections, Medscape noted
While research showed taking probiotics did not prevent every recurrence of UTIs, it did reduce the number of contracting the infection again, Live Science noted.
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Everyday Health reported that antibiotics
can help with treating pain and other symptoms of UTIs, however, they can potentially damage the body’s systems as well by destroying good bacteria in addition to the bad germs, making women susceptible to incurring another infection. Taking probiotics with antibiotics can help to prevent such damage.
, however, one study found that antibiotics remain more effective in preventing UTIs than probiotics, though they do not add to the body’s resistance to antibiotics. Taking antibiotics, however, increased the chances of a patient becoming resistant to them.
Probiotics can be found in fermented foods, some dairy products, and supplements.
While researchers are optimistic, according to the NCBI, more information is needed before determining the effectiveness of probiotics when it comes to UTIs.
In 2011, when one study showed that probiotics decreased the chances of recurring UTIs by almost 50 percent, U.S. News & World Report noted the specific strain of probiotics
used, Lactobacillus crispatus, was not on the market yet.
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