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Will D-Mannose Help Urinary Tract Infections?

Women who frequently experience urinary tract infections are eager to find natural approaches. Many readers report that D-mannose can be useful.
Will D-Mannose Help Urinary Tract Infections?
D-Mannose is a sugar related to glucose

What do you do for urinary tract infections (UTIs)? When bacteria invade the ureter or bladder, the results are extremely painful urination, along with a feeling of urgency. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics, but women who are prone to recurrent UTIs may end taking multiple courses. This repeated antibiotic exposure could contribute to resistant microbes. However, a number of readers have written to tell us that a natural product, D-mannose, can be helpful.

D-Mannose for Urinary Tract Infections:

Q. D-mannose has been more effective than antibiotics for my urinary tract infections. I’ve suffered with chronic UTIs for a long time and I never want to go back on antibiotics because I feel they make things worse. When the doctor prescribes an antibiotic, I have to take probiotics as well.

A. There is growing interest in the simple sugar D-mannose for preventing urinary tract infections. It is found in foods like cranberries, cabbage, currants, apples and peaches. Many cells in the body also use mannose in their metabolic processes.

An overview of D-mannose for UTI prevention and treatment concluded that this natural product may be helpful (Nature Reviews Urology, Dec. 2018).  A more recent study concluded that D-mannose is a good alternative both for preventing and treating many UTIs (Molecules, Jan. 13, 2020). 

Anyone who contemplates such an approach should ask her doctor for guidelines and monitoring. In addition, she should also make sure she is consuming adequate water. Researchers have found that UTIs are more common when people are not drinking at least six glasses of water daily (JAMA Internal Medicine, Nov. 2018).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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  • Sihra N et al, "Nonantibiotic prevention and management of recurrent urinary tract infection." Nature Reviews Urology, Dec. 2018. DOI: 10.1038/s41585-018-0106-x
  • Scribano D et al, "d-mannose treatment neither affects uropathogenic Escherichia coli properties nor induces stable FimH modifications." Molecules, Jan. 13, 2020. DOI: 10.3390/molecules25020316
  • Hooton TM et al, "Effect of increased daily water intake in premenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infections: A randomized clinical trial." JAMA Internal Medicine, Nov. 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4204
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