It'd be great to stop a urinary tract infection before it even starts, but our expert isn't sold on the newest UTI prevention drink, Uqora
Some women get urinary tract infections (UTIs) once in an an extremely painful blue moon, while others seem to be cursed with frequent infections every other month—but it only takes one to know how invaluable UTI prevention is.
A new product, though, says staving off UTIs may be just as easy as a few sips: Uqora is a new health supplement (out last week) that you stir into water—kind of like Emergen-C or Crystal Lite—and then drink after any activity that may cause a UTI, like sex or prolonged exercise. (Don't forget about these 4 Surprising Causes of Urinary Tract Infections).
UTIs are caused when bacteria is pushed inside your urethra, causing an infection, and Uqora claims to contain vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes that flush out your system and prevent the infection from occurring. This prevention technique is nothing new—you'd get the same diuretic affect by drinking a ton of water or cranberry juice, both of which are already medically advised. (Drinking a ton of water but still have weird things going on down there? Listen to these 6 Things Your Pee is Trying to Tell You.)
But the drink also has a special sugar that the company says stops bacteria from latching onto your urethra and the rest of your urinary tract in the first place, which is intriguing, but also doubt-inducing, says Allison Rodgers, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn.
The sugar in the drink, d-mannose, is already available in supplement form, which is marketed in the same bacteria-shielding way. And it does have some scientific basis: A recent study in Pathogens and Disease found that d-mannose prevented E. Coli bacterium from adhering to the urethreal wall in diabetic female mice. It's interesting research, but not necessarily enough to improve the lives of human women having sexual intercourse, Rodgers says.
Uqora says its active ingredients were tested on 308 people, and that those who took them were four times less likely to develop a UTI than the control group over the course of six months. Of course, that study wasn't peer-edited or published in a medical journal, Rodgers points out. Nor has the FDA evaluated or approved the product, which is available to purchase through their site.
"This product isn't going to hurt anyone, but I think more research needs to be done on humans before we can make such huge claims as preventing UTIs," Rogers says.
If you're interested, the drink is certainly worth a shot. It encourages you to hydrate after sex or exercise, which is always a great idea, and it contains vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium and magnesium. As long as your primary care physician is okay with you taking that combo, you're in the clear.
Of course, you should also talk to your primary-care doctor or ob-gyn if you're having UTIs regularly. (Should You Self-Diagnose Your UTI?) The standard rules for preventing a urinary tract infection are still the same. "Stay hydrated, and pee after intercourse," Rodgers says. If you suspect you have a UTI, head to the doctor for an antibiotics prescription. Aside from being annoying, these infections can lead to kidney damage if not properly treated. The care and keeping of a healthy urinary tract requires a lot more than sipping cranberry juice occasionally.