If you’ve ever experienced a UTI, then you’ve heard about a million and one home remedies to cure or prevent them. A friend has told you to chug cranberry juice, Google says to stock up on vitamin C, or maybe you were told to drink baking soda on a Reddit thread (this author has tried it—it tastes nasty and it doesn’t work ☹️). You may have also heard about something called D-Mannose. Weird name, but does it work? Let’s find out.
What is D-Mannose?
D-Mannose is a naturally-occurring simple sugar that is closely related to glucose. You can find it in high amounts in apples, oranges, peaches, and some berries like blueberries and our old friend, the cranberry. It’s easy to access and safe to consume which would make it a preferable alternative to preventative antibiotics for those of us who struggle with chronic or recurrent UTI symptoms. But what does the science say?
How Does D-Mannose Work?
Over 90% of all UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria that finds its way into the urinary tract and leads to inflammation, infection, and irritation. D-Mannose is one way you may be able to counter this bacteria. D-Mannose can be consumed in powder or capsule form. Once it’s digested by your body, it filters through the kidneys into the urinary tract. There, it’s able to stick to any E. coli present and prevent it from adhering to the lining of your bladder and urinary tract. Because the E. coli remains free-floating, so to speak, it’s easily flushed from your system when you urinate instead of sticking around and multiplying.
But Does D-Mannose Actually Prevent UTIs?
The research is still in its early stages, but scientists have seen promising results for treating UTI Symptoms. A 2013 study with a sample size of 308 women compared D-Mannose to nitrofurantoin, an antibiotic commonly used to treat and prevent UTIs in patients who get them often. The researchers found D-Mannose worked about as well as the antibiotic for preventing UTIs over a 6-month period.
Similarly, a 2014 study compared D-Mannose to the antibiotic trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for the treatment and prevention of frequent UTIs in 60 women. D-mannose reduced UTI symptoms in women with an active infection and was more effective than the antibiotic for preventing additional infections. While the research is ongoing, D-Mannose has certainly be shown to be safe to take and is worth a try if you’re someone who always finds themselves with that “gotta go” feeling!
Does D-Mannose Have Side Effects?
D-Mannose is a type of fruit sugar, so some people do experience side effects like bloating, loose stools, and diarrhea. At very high doses, there are concerns that D-Mannose could harm the kidneys since it is excreted through your urine—always follow the directions on the product label when taking any type of supplement to avoid adverse effects.
Ok, So How Do I Use It?
Wisp believes in the power of D-Mannose so we created a prophylactic D-Mannose regimen in capsule form (we found capsules to be preferable to a D-Mannose powder that needs to be mixed into a drink). One round of treatment consists of taking 5 capsules daily for 3 days to help flush bacteria from your urinary tract and prep you to fight off infection naturally. Heading to Florida on spring break or going on a romantic getaway with your boo? Start treatment at the beginning of your trip to maintain your bladder health and prevent a UTI. Each bottle of D-Mannose contains 45 capsules (enough for 3 rounds of treatment) so you have a lil extra for when you need it.
If I Do Get A UTI, What’s the Best Antibiotic?
It’s important to remember that D-Mannose isn’t a UTI cure or a magic pill. It’s still possible for you to get a UTI and if your UTI Symptoms progress, or you feel nauseous or feverish, be sure to pick up prescription antibiotics for treatment. A UTI can turn into a kidney infection if left untreated, so don’t ignore your symptoms if they don’t go away. There is no one antibiotic that is best to treat UTIs, but a few that doctors trust include trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra), Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid), and Cephalexin (Keflex). Your doctor will take into account your medical and treatment history to determine the best medication for you.
If you’re struggling with chronic or recurrent UTIs, using D-Mannose as a preventative treatment may be the answer to your UTI troubles. You know your body best—take D-Mannose anytime you engage in activities that have prompted that familiar UTI pain in the past. Staying hydrated never hurts either!