Urinary tract infections -- also referred to as UTIs -- are common bacterial infections of the bladder. These infections can affect anyone, but are most common in females. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, females are twice as likely as males to develop UTIs. While UTIs require medical attention, the probiotics found in yogurts can be beneficial for urinary tract infections.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections can affect any portion of your urinary system -- including your kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. Females, pregnant women, diabetics, the sexually active and those with a history of UTIs have a higher risk of developing a UTI. Symptoms of a UTI include frequent and painful urination, the constant urge to urinate while voiding little, chills, back pain, stomach pain, foul-smelling urine, cloudy urine, nausea and vomiting. UTIs are rarely serious unless they spread to your kidneys. This can cause permanent damage. UTIs do require medical attention. Antibiotics, over-the-counter pain medications and drinking plenty of fluids is often the recommended course of treatment for UTIs.
Probiotics are often referred to as "good bacteria." This good bacteria can be purchased as supplements or found in yogurt as well as soy and miso. The active species of probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacllus acidophilus is used to help balance the vagina and small intestine, but as of 2011, the species has not been widely tested in the treatment or prevention of urinary tract infections. More research is needed to back the use of probiotics for UTIs. However, there is some evidence supporting their use. According to a study published in the "Clinical Infectious Diseases" by Ann E. Stapleton, M.D., findings support the use of Lactobacillus crispatus by means of intravaginal suppositories for improving symptoms in women with frequent and recurring UTIs.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a probiotic supplement, which should contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, as a nutritional supplement for those with frequent urinary tract infections. UTI suffers should consume 5 to 10 billion colony forming units -- or CFUs -- daily. This helps maintain your immune system and the health of your gastrointestinal system. The University of Maryland Medical Center indicates there is strong scientific evidence to support the use of probiotics for urological conditions. You should refrigerate probiotics for best results. Probiotics can also be consumed daily by eating yogurt.
Contact your doctor before using yogurt or probiotics for a urinary tract infection. They are not substitutes for antibiotic treatment. Do not use yogurt if you have experienced a past allergy to it. There is no guarantee yogurt or probiotics can help to treat UTIs. A treatment method that works in one individual may not yield the same results in another individual.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Urinary Tract Infections in Women
- "Clinical Infectious Diseases"; Randomized, Placebo-controlled Phase 2 Trial of a Lactobacillus crispatus Probiotic Given Intravaginally for Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection; Ann E. Stapleton, M.D. et al.; 2011