It was a Sunday morning when I started to feel the telltale pain and burning that could only mean one thing: a UTI.
As the pressure on my bladder increased, sending me to the bathroom every twenty minutes, I couldn’t believe I was experiencing this again. I had suffered through this miserable type of illness just six months before, as well as six months before that. Depressingly, this meant my third urinary tract infection in a year, qualifying me for the dreaded title of someone with “frequent UTIs.”
When I had to leave a social event later that day due to my discomfort, I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for a stretch. It wasn’t just that I felt frustrated at dealing with the painful interruption of a third UTI in twelve months. I also couldn’t stomach the idea of going on antibiotics one more time. As someone who takes an active interest in my own health, I’m well aware that antibiotic overuse is associated with a number of major problems. While I don’t usually experience the stomach discomfort many people do on these drugs, I know they have the destructive effect of wiping out good bacteria in my digestive tract. And with all science has shown about the connection between gut bacteria and heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even depression, my microbiome is one part of my health I dearly want to protect.
From a lifetime of 21st century American medical care, I’ve been conditioned to believe that antibiotics are the only guaranteed route to eradicating bad bacteria like the kind that cause UTIs. Still, I wondered, wasn’t there any other path? Surely people recovered from infections by other means before penicillin hit the market in 1928. To get some answers, I decided to turn to that source of all wisdom and knowledge: the internet.
D-mannose For Treating UTIs
Researching online for natural UTI cures, I came upon an article recommending a product I’d never heard of called D-mannose.
This supplement is a simple sugar related to glucose. When taken orally, D-mannose eventually ends up in the bladder, where it attaches to harmful bacteria like e.coli that cause UTIs. D-mannose sticks to bacteria, so they can’t adhere to the walls of the bladder as easily and are more likely to be flushed out.
Reading on, I discovered that the research conducted on D-mannose’s effectiveness appears quite encouraging. A European study from 2016 revealed that when women with UTIs took D-mannose twice daily for three days, then once daily for ten days, they experienced “significant improvement of the majority of symptoms” of infection.
D-mannose even shows promising results when taken preventatively. A 2013 study confirmed that it worked about as well as the common antibiotic nitrofurantoin for preventing UTIs over a 6-month period.
D-mannose vs Cranberry Juice
Overall, D-mannose has a far more impressive track record than cranberry juice, which may or may not actually treat or prevent UTIs. (Recent studies have debunked the long-held concept of cranberry juice as a powerful natural UTI-buster.)
How I Healed My UTI With D-mannose
With low risk of side effects and no messing with the microbiome, D-mannose sounded well worth a try to me. I headed to my local natural grocery store to pick some up.
While I initially worried that, as a relative of glucose, D-mannose might be high in sugar, a little bit apparently goes a long way. The product I purchased contained only two grams of sugar per dose. Back at home, I mixed the recommended 2.7-gram scoopful into a four-ounce glass of water and downed it. The taste was sweet, but not overly so.
In an effort to make the treatment even more effective, I decided to combine D-mannose with another of my favorite natural remedies: meditation.
I devoted a chunk of my afternoon to a guided meditation on pain relief, imagining deep breaths washing away my pain like waves smoothing the sand on a beach. Then, each time I went to the bathroom, I visualized the harmful bacteria flushing out of my system.
The next morning, I was amazed to discover that using the restroom felt less like getting sliced by razor blades in my nether-regions, and more like mild discomfort. I could hardly believe the turnaround. In my excitement at D-mannose’s effects, I texted every one of my female friends to spread the word about the miracle supplement that took away my UTI overnight.
My celebration may have been a bit premature. Over the next few days, I faithfully drank my D-mannose mixture: one 2.7-gram scoop of powder dissolved in four ounces of water in the morning and at bedtime. But for awhile, my symptoms yo-yo-ed. One day I would feel almost back to complete urinary health, and the next it seemed I’d taken a backward step. But every time I started to think I’d call it quits and get a prescription, I’d tell myself to give it one more day. After all, I knew natural supplements work more gently than antibiotics. Maybe all I needed was a little patience—and faith to believe I was gradually improving.
I’m so thankful I waited it out. Although it took between two and three weeks, I recovered completely from my UTI and have had no further symptoms since. True, it may have taken longer to wipe out my infection using D-mannose and meditation than it would have with antibiotics—but even antibiotics often require a ten-day course. The extra week or two this method took was time I was willing to spend to spare myself the negative consequences of antibiotics.
Every UTI is unique, and you’ll certainly want to consult your physician before opting for a natural supplement over a prescription. But for my own health, the next time I feel the pain and burning of a UTI, I’ll be reaching for my jar of D-mannose.
Where To Buy D-Mannose
I picked up my powdered D-mannose from a local natural grocery store and you can do the same. Alternatively, the brand I purchased is available from this page on Amazon.