If you are reading this, chances are you've had a urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI, and you know they are no fun. In fact, they can be downright painful. What's worse is sometimes you can get them over and over again! Nearly 40% of women who get a UTI have repeat infections (1).
But what exactly is a UTI? What causes them? And who is at risk? As female athletes, we are more susceptible to UTIs for various reasons. And you certainly don't want a pesky and painful UTI slowing you down. We are here with the information you need to maintain your health so you can perform your best. UTI prevention for athletes is essential, so read on for all the details!
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The urinary system contains two kidneys, two ureters, the bladder, and a urethra. A UTI can occur anywhere within the urinary system. The body's immune system can typically stop infectious bacteria before it spreads too far. However, sometimes the bacteria can multiply quickly and cause an infection.
The majority of UTIs occur in the bladder, which is also called cystitis. The bacteria can travel up the ureters to the kidneys, causing a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). While ureter and kidney infections are less common, they are more serious.
While there are multiple UTI causes, the leading cause is E. Coli bacteria which live in the bowel and pass through the rectum during bowel movements (2). E. Coli can enter the urinary tract inadvertently.
These are the main symptoms of a UTI:
- Burning with urination
- That got-to-go sensation
- Cloudy urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Lower abdominal pain
In more severe cases, you may experience blood in the urine, back pain, fever, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
Who Is At Risk for Getting a UTI?
Due to their short urethra and its proximity to the rectum, women are more at risk for getting UTIs than men. In addition, peri-menopausal and menopausal women have an even higher risk due to the thinning of their vagina and urinary tract tissues.
Since bacteria are known to multiply in moist, sweaty areas, female athletes are particularly susceptible to UTIs. Additionally, female athletes are more likely to suffer from stress incontinence, which contributes to a damp environment that provides a habitat for bacteria.
There are other risk factors for getting UTIs:
- Sex, especially having multiple sexual partners
- Spermicide and barrier cream use
- Poor feminine hygiene
- Irritating soaps and detergents
- Having a prior UTI
Natural UTI Prevention
There are many natural UTI prevention methods and ways to treat simple, uncomplicated UTIs:
- Consume cranberries or unsweetened cranberry juice: Research shows that cranberries contain a substance that prevents harmful microorganisms from sticking to the walls of the urinary system. There are also cranberry supplements available.
- Drink plenty of water: This allows for regular urination, which flushes harmful bacteria away before it has a chance to multiply.
- Consume probiotics geared toward feminine health: We all know probiotics are helpful for gut health, but they are also great for vaginal health, urinary tract health, and UTI prevention.
- Practice good feminine hygiene: Wipe front to back after going to the bathroom and make sure to urinate before and after sex.
- Avoid using douches and other irritating vaginal cleansing products: These products can disrupt the delicate balance of good bacteria in the vagina and increase the risk of infection.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing: Tighter clothing can rub and irritate the vaginal area. Wearing moisture-wicking underwear will help all women, but athletes especially.
UltraFlora Women's Review
- Price (rating scale below): $$
- Type: Capsule
- Dosage: Take 1 capsule daily
- Certifications: Non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegetarian
UltraFlora Women's is an excellent resource for helping prevent recurring UTIs in women. UltraFlora Women's contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. These probiotics bypass the gut and head straight for the vagina and urinary tract. Here, they promote the growth of healthy lactobacilli, one of the most essential microorganisms in a healthy vagina and urinary tract.
What We Like
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 have been laboratory researched for over 20 years and studied for clinical effectiveness for at least ten years.
- Trusted for use by practitioners for 7 years
- 79% of women surveyed in 2020 reported a positive vaginal health benefit
- Single capsule dose
- Studied for safety and effectiveness in clinical trials
- Highly rated by certified buyers
- Natural UTI prevention
- Best for preventing recurring UTIs
What We Don't Like
- This probiotic is formulated solely for vaginal and urinary health. You will need to consider other products if you are also looking to improve your gut health.
BUY: UltraFlora Women's
Urinary tract infections are an unpleasant and unfortunate occurrence for many women. However, the best defense is always a good offense. Prevent recurrent infections by implementing natural UTI prevention strategies like the ones described above. You should always pay attention to your body and look after yourself. If you suspect a UTI, consult your healthcare provider to decide the best course for your particular circumstance.
How We Rate Supplements
Price/affordability (scale of $-$$$)
Prices depend on several factors and tend to fluctuate over time, so we've kept our affordability rating scale simple so you can easily see how products compare:
$ = under $1 per serving
$$ = $1-2 per serving
$$$ = over $2 per serving
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Al-Badr, A., & Al-Shaikh, G. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2013 Aug; 13(3): 359–367. Published online 2013 Jun 25. doi: 10.12816/0003256