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Does Yogurt Help a Urinary Tract?

by
author image Michelle Zehr
Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.
Does Yogurt Help a Urinary Tract?
A bowl of yogurt on a table. Photo Credit tacar/iStock/Getty Images

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

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.

Dosage

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.

Considerations

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.

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