How to Prevent Bladder Infections

John Gray

A bladder infection, or urinary tract infection (UTI), is an infection in any part of your urinary system. It can involve your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections are located in the lower urinary tract - the bladder and urethra. Both men and women can contract UTIs but women are more susceptible due to their shorter urethras. Men have the benefit of having a bacterial growth inhibitor injected into their urinary system by their prostate gland.

Bladder infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. The urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders but occasionally these defenses fail and an infection develops. More than 90% of UTI cases are caused by E. coli bacteria. E. coli is normally found in your intestinal tract and part of your normal gut flora. It can accidentally be transferred to the bladder through lapses in hygiene. The body is unable to flush these bacteria strains away because their cell walls are composed of lectin, a sticky substance that allows the bacteria to cling to the urinary tract. 

Bladder infections may not always have obvious symptoms, but when they do, they may include:

Burning sensation with urination
Frequent urge to urinate
Lower abdominal pain or ache
Blood in urine
Cloudy urine

A simple test for bacteria in your urine will confirm whether you have an infection or not. Many doctors will then treat the infection with antibiotics. However, there are several studies that suggest using the supplement D-mannose as a natural therapy for the treatment of bladder infections. Mannose is produced by your cells and covers the internal lining of your urinary organs. Lectin, the sticky substance on the bacteria that allows it to bind to the urinary tract, also binds to mannose. By taking the supplement D-mannose, lectin from the E. coli binds to the mannose in the urine and is then excreted by the body.  

We have all heard that drinking cranberry juice can help support a healthy urinary tract. Well, the active ingredient in cranberry has been identified as D-mannose. D-mannose can be found in berries, peaches, apples and other plants. It is a naturally occurring sugar closely related to glucose produced in your body. D-mannose helps nourish healthy flora and doesn't kill friendly bacteria, therefore there is no stomach upset.

The problem with antibiotics, is they kill all bacteria - friendly bacteria included - which is why most people experience stomach upset when taking antibiotics. Research suggests that ingesting D-mannose significantly raises the blood mannose levels which is needed to raise the urinary mannose levels. 


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