Basics of UTIs

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is, well, an infection of your urinary tract! This infection is also known as a bladder infection, as the bladder is the most infected area–though a UTI can also present in your kidneys or urethra (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2021). By 24 years old, about 1 in 3 people with vaginas will have had a UTI; throughout their lifetimes, about half will get one (Foxman, 2002).

UTIs are very uncomfortable, most often noticed by a burning sensation when you pee. Other symptoms include:

  • Increase in urinary frequency
  • Passing small amounts of urine
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps, pressure, or pain in your abdomen and/or lower back
  • Fever or chills*

*Important: If you are experiencing fever or chills along with these other symptoms, your urinary infection may have spread to one of your internal organs. This can cause permanent damage to your organs and in rare cases, may be fatal–so get yourself to a doctor immediately!  (Das, Ronda, & Trent, 2016)

Supplements to Prevent UTIs

Once you’ve had one UTI, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get another; about 40% of all UTI cases recur within one year (Arnold, Hehn, & Klein, 2016). There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of recurrent UTIs or prevent them in the future. 

Please note that these are not tips on how to treat your current UTI! Many UTI symptoms overlap with various forms of vaginitis, including yeast infections and sexually transmitted infections. You need a doctors’ analysis and an antibiotic to treat a UTI. The following tips will only help you prevent future UTIs.


While most of this article will focus on supplements to prevent UTIs, one of the most common ways UTIs spread is improper vaginal hygiene. You can prevent this by wiping front to back when you use the restroom (instead of back to front). Also, make sure everything that enters your vagina (including anything used for sexual intent) is clean first!

Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is very commonly used to prevent UTIs. The “secret” lies in two of its compounds—fructose (a sugar found in fruit) and a special type of proanthocyanidins (PAC B-type) only found in cranberry juice. These compounds have been shown to prevent E. coli from adhering to the cells that line the walls of your bladder.

However, is this “secret” really worth it? Research is inconclusive; while there may be a small benefit to using cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, it is likely not much better than an antibiotic. Still, unless you need to monitor your blood sugar, cranberry juice is a fairly cheap and mostly harmless substance that may help maintain vaginal health (Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC., 2012).


Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Pasteur are just three of the many scholars throughout history that have recognized the healing potential of garlic; in fact, it is still used in folk medicine throughout much of the world! 

One research review found that garlic was effective in treating the bacteria that cause staph infections, strep throat, salmonella, yeast infections, and more. It’s believed that the compound allicin (which contains sulfur) may be the key to its antibiotic properties (Adetumbi & Lau, 1983).

And yes, early in vitro and animal studies have shown its potential benefits for preventing UTIs! (Harjai, Kumar, & Singh, 2010).

Teas and Herbs

Several different kinds of teas and/or herbs have also been shown to help prevent UTIs:

  • Green tea. In addition to its lovely flavor and calming effects, green tea has antimicrobial properties that help it fight off bacteria like E. coli (Reygaert & Jusufi, 2013).
  • Chamomile. Chamomile is another lovely calming tea which has antimicrobial effects. (It’s also great for sleep!) We still need more research into chamomile’s power to fight off UTIs, but early research seems promising (Raheema & Alsaidi, 2016).
  • Parsley. Parsley can be made into a nice refreshing tea (or added to one), or added to your food. Either way, it has been shown to inhibit the growth of many bacteria that can lead to UTIs (Alshwaikh et al, 2014).
  • Mint. While more research is needed, one in vitro study of different plant extracts showed that a methanol extract of wild mint was effective in preventing infection of three different bacteria that can lead to UTIs (Acharjee et al).


It may seem a little contradictory to take anti-biotics to treat a UTI and pro-biotics to prevent one but hear us out!

A UTI is caused by harmful bacteria (like E. coli) entering your urinary tract. You can certainly stop the infection from spreading by having antibacterial or antimicrobial defenses built up in your body, as many of the supplements we’ve discussed here do.

Try Our Flora Bloom Feminine Probiotic 

However, another method is to boost your body’s natural defenses by bolstering the good bacteria in your body. These good bacteria will then do all the hard work of fighting the harmful bacteria for you!

You can get more probiotics through over-the-counter supplements, but since these are not regulated, there’s no guarantee of quality or consistency between them. The good news is that many delicious, fermented foods also contain probiotics–cheese, yogurt, pickles, sourdough bread, miso, kombucha, and more! (Harvard Health Publishing, 2020)

The research so far is inconclusive on whether probiotics directly help UTIs; we need better high-quality studies to determine that (Schwenger, Tejani, & Loewen, 2015). However, probiotics are great for the body and fight off all kinds of other infections. If there’s even a chance they can help you prevent UTIs, then go ahead–eat more cheese and pickles!


Urinary Tract Infections are a common but highly uncomfortable condition that will impact most women throughout their lives. You can usually prevent UTIs by practicing good vaginal hygiene, including clean habits while using the bathroom or engaging in any kind of sexual activity.

However, certain other vitamin supplements can be a great addition to healthy vaginal habits. Try adding cranberry juice, garlic, certain teas, and probiotics to your routine; you might be able to fend off this annoying infection for good! 


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff (2021). Urinary tract infection (UTI). Mayo Clinic. 
  2. Foxman B. (2002). Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: incidence, morbidity, and economic costs. The American journal of medicine, 113 Suppl 1A, 5S–13S.  
  3. Das, B. B., Ronda, J., & Trent, M. (2016). Pelvic inflammatory disease: improving awareness, prevention, and treatment. Infection and drug resistance, 9, 191–197. 
  4. Arnold, J. J., Hehn, L. E., & Klein, D. A. (2016). Common Questions About Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Women. American family physician, 93(7), 560–569. 
  5. Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC. (2012). Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev., (10):CD001321. 
  6. Adetumbi, M. A., & Lau, B. H. (1983). Alliumsativum (garlic)—a natural antibiotic. Medical hypotheses, 12(3), 227-237. 
  7. Kusum Harjai, Ravi Kumar, Sukhvinder Singh (2010). Garlic blocks quorum sensing and attenuates the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology, 58(2), 161–168. 
  8. Reygaert, W., & Jusufi, I. (2013). Green tea as an effective antimicrobial for urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli. Frontiers in microbiology, 4, 162. 
  9. Raheema, R. H., & Alsaidi, M. A. (2016). Protective effect of chamomile recutita flowers extract against Urinary tract infection induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Experimental mice models. J. Health, Medicine and Nursing, 22, 75-84. 
  10. Alshwaikh, R. M. A., Al-Sorchee, S. M. A., Ali, K. A., & Al Beer, W. (2014). Antibacterial activity of parsley and celery aqueous extract on the isolated bacteria from children UTI in Erbil city. Int. J. Adv. Res, 2, 895-903. 
  11. Acharjee, M., Zerin, N., Ishma, T., & Mahmud, M. In-Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Medicinal Plants Against Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Causing Bacteria Along with Their Synergistic Effects with Commercially Available Antibiotics. 
  12. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). How to get more probiotics. Harvard Health. 
  13. Schwenger EM, Tejani AM, Loewen PS. (2015). Probiotics for preventing urinary tract infections in adults and children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 12; CD008772.
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