D-Mannose and Urinary Tract Infections
rinary tract infections are a significant bother, especially for women and it is responsible for high costs to the healthcare system. Prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to infections of the urinary tract. And given the current pandemic, it is best to prevent these infections and hospital visits. Natural substances like D-mannose can effectively treat, as well as, prevent urinary tract infections.
Urinary tract infection or UTI is an infection that occurs when bacteria enter your urine and goes up to your bladder and affect other parts of your urinary system including your kidneys. UTIs are responsible for over 8 million visits to healthcare clinics every year and per estimates, at least 60% of women and over 12% of men are likely to suffer from urinary tract infections atleast once in their lifetime.
Research points out that urinary tract infections and some sexually transmitted infections usually get misdiagnosed by healthcare professionals by about 50%. And in such cases, these misdiagnoses end up in the overuse of antibiotics, which in turn, results in antibiotic resistance. In order to prevent the overuse of antibiotics, it is better to consider taking natural supplements like D-mannose which can prevent, as well as, treat an existing urinary tract infection.
What is D-mannose?
D-mannose a.k.a. mannose is a kind of sugar that is naturally present in some vegetables and fruits like cranberries, peaches, black and red currants, cabbage, tomatoes, and green beans. Also, in your own body, this sugar is produced from glucose.
D-mannose is a natural dietary supplementthat has been touted for its effectiveness in preventing and treating urinary tract infections. A non-antibiotic treatment like this for treating urinary tract infections can help put an end to antibiotic resistance.
How does D-mannose helps in urinary tract infections?
Several research studies have demonstrated that D-mannose’s potential in treating urinary tract infections. D-mannose prevents the causative pathogen of UTIs from sticking to the urinary tract.
A 2008 study published in PLoS One revealed that D-mannose might hinder the UTI-causing bacteria from adhering to the cells lining the urinary tract. The researchers found that D-mannose supplements could help prevent E.coli bacteria which causes most of the urinary tract infections from sticking to the urinary tract’s cells and thereby prevent infection.
Does D-mannose help if I’ve already had a UTI?
Yes, D-mannose can effectively treat an existing urinary tract infection. In fact, an Italian team of researchers found that D-mannose was an effective aid in treating acute urinary tract infections and that it was a powerful prophylactic agent among the study participants. Researchers believe that recurrences of urinary tract infections occur when prophylaxis (action is taken to prevent diseases) gets interrupted. About 60% of women who have had a UTI might have a relapse of the infection within 3 months.
D-mannose appears highly promising in preventing recurrent UTIs. While a majority of women develop urinary tract infections in their lifetimes, some suffer from reinfections when the same pathogen infects them again. It is officially called a recurrent UTI when you have suffered from urinary tract infections at least twice in three months or if you have had UTIs more than thrice in a single year.
Recurrent UTIs are more common among sexually active women. During regular sexual intercourse, the bacteria that live in the vagina, genital and anal regions might enter the urethra and cause an infection. It can also occur when the bacteria from a male sexual partner’s genitals or fingers might get pushed into a woman’s urethra. Not everyone develops a lingering UTI and the reason behind a recurrent UTI might be different for different people. However, the main reason for recurrent UTIs might be impervious bacteria and antibiotic-resistance.
A 2013 study published in the BJU International which studied the potential of D-mannose in treating urinary tract infections found that D-mannose was as effective as the antibiotic nitrofurantoin in preventing frequent and recurrent UTIs. Women with recurrent UTIs who took D-mannose supplements were enormously benefited. The researchers emphasized that D-mannose could be an effective prophylactic agent among women who suffered from frequent urinary tract infections.
Which is better in urinary tract infections: D-mannose or antibiotics?
When researchers compared the effects of antibiotic trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and D-mannose to treat and prevent urinary tract infections among women, they found that D-mannose reduced UTI symptoms in women with an active infection. They also found that D-Mannose was better than antibiotics in preventing recurrent urinary tract infections in women. The results of the study highlighted that D-mannose appeared to be both safe and effective in treating recurrent urinary tract infections in women.
How to use D-Mannose to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections?
D-mannose is available in several forms. But if you are planning to take D-mannose supplements, discuss with your healthcare provider about the dosage, the type of product, and more importantly if your purpose is to prevent or treat urinary tract infections.
D-mannose supplements are available in both powder form and as pills. You can choose the type of D-mannose supplement according to your preferences. If you hate popping a pill or do not like swallowing capsules, you can simply take the pure powder form. Otherwise, you can just take D-mannose capsules.
Can UTIs go away on their own?
Most of the time a urinary tract infection or a bladder infection doesn’t get better without treatment. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics and prophylactic supplements to treat and prevent recurrent UTIs. When left untreated, urinary tract infections can become fatal as they travel throughout the body. Drinking plenty of fluids can help flush away the causative bacteria and supplements like cranberry or D-mannose act as a prophylactic to help treat and prevent urinary tract infections and prevent complications.
What are the side effects of taking D-mannose supplements?
Although several research studies conducted to study the effectiveness of D-mannose in managing urinary tract infections have found it to be extremely safe, it can be prone to some mild side effects, just like any other drug or supplement. Some people can experience mild diarrhea or loose stools after taking D-mannose supplements. If taken in higher doses, D-mannose has been found to cause certain health issues. As far as people with diabetes are considered, it is recommended that they discuss it with their healthcare providers before considering D-mannose to prevent UTIs.