If you have recurrent UTIs, you may be interested in the best probiotics for UTI prevention.
Using probiotics for this purpose is growing in popularity and some research supports that probiotics can help prevent multiple kinds of infections.
In this post, learn about how to choose the best probiotics for UTIs and which brands meet quality and effectiveness criteria based on research.
Related post: Who Should Not Take Probiotics + Important Benefits
Table of Contents
If you have had a UTI before, you know that it can be a painful and very disruptive condition.
You can have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine
- Changes in the smell of urine
- Abdominal pain
If you have symptoms of UTI, you should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.
There are two main reasons you can get a UTI. First is the presence of harmful bacteria in the urinary tract. The second is a weakened immune system. This can be due to poor nutrition, a poor microbiome, stress, and more.
You can definitely have both of these issues at the same time.
Other contributing factors to UTI include:
- Antibiotic use
- Sexual activity
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Sugar and processed foods
The most common bacteria that cause UTIs is Escherichia coli or E. coli, which comes from the digestive tract.
It turns out that the urinary tract also is protected by a healthy urinary microbiome. This just means that the urinary system is protected by beneficial bacteria or probiotics too. Common probiotics in the bladder and urethra are Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, and Actinomyces.
Related post: Best Probiotics for Kids: How to Choose
How common are UTIs?
Urinary tract infections are common in both women and men, but women get the brunt of the infection burden. In fact, 50-60% of all women get at least one UTI in their lifetime.
About 12% of men will have a UTI, so it’s still really common in men, too. Children also can end up getting urinary tract infections.
Additionally, the rates continue to increase over time, with over 150 million people per year worldwide having them. In the last 10 years, the rates of UTI have skyrocketed.
Obviously, this is a costly and painful condition that can become serious if it turns into a kidney infection. The increased rates also point to the fact that people aren’t getting healthier; the opposite if anything.
Additionally, standard treatment, which is antibiotics, increases the risk of further infections because it disrupts a healthy microbiome if probiotics aren’t added.
Role of probiotics in the urinary tract
While research is still in the early stages of understanding the urinary microbiome, we do know that by supporting vaginal and gut health, probiotics reduce the risk of opportunistic infections in general.
Probiotics that live in the urinary tract line the walls of the bladder and urethra which makes a protective barrier from harmful bacteria. They also likely compete with E. coli, making it less likely for an infection to set in.
The microbiome from the gut also supports a healthy immune response throughout the whole body, making probiotics an appealing choice for UTI prevention.
Which are the best probiotic strains for UTI?
Antibiotics remain the first-line treatment for UTIs. But, probiotics can help reduce the need for future antibiotics by supporting the immune system and fighting invading bacteria.
For example, one study found that postmenopausal women who received probiotics called Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® or an antibiotic had half the number of infections compared to no treatment.
The probiotic treatment fared better than the antibiotic group in the end because there was less antibiotic resistance at the end of the year of treatment.
Another study found similar results. People with recurrent UTIs had a 50% less chance of recurrence when taking L. rhamnosus GR-1® and L. reuteri RC-14® over 6 months.
Additionally, children who have low levels of Bifidobacterium and high levels of E. coli in their gut have a much higher chance of getting a UTI.
A probiotic called Lactobacillus crispatus reduces the risk of recurrent UTIs by almost 50% as well. This probiotic was used as a vaginal suppository in this particular study.
Still another study found that using Bacillus subtilis plus antibiotics worked better than antibiotics alone for reducing UTIs in people with recurrent infections. One way that this strain helps with UTIs is because it may reduce antibiotic resistance.
When it comes to the urinary tract, Saccharomyces boulardii is another strain that holds promise because it reduces the growth of E. coli.
Also for preventing UTIs, probiotics seem to also help prevent infection in children. A wide variety of probiotic strains seem to help.
Diet tips for UTI prevention
There are many things you can do to help reduce the risk of UTI. Eating healthy foods that support gut health should be a cornerstone.
Some foods for gut health and urinary health include:
- Bone broth
- Chicory root
- Green vegetables
- Protein-rich foods like eggs, meats, chicken, and fish, whey protein
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Citrus fruits
- Bovine colostrum
- Apple cider vinegar with the mother
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, and kefir
Probiotic foods and citrus fruits are related to a reduced risk of getting UTIs.
Other ways to help prevent UTI
Protecting your urinary tract should be holistic and the following tips are general suggestions to help reduce your chances of infections.
- Stay hydrated
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Avoid processed foods
- Add in D-mannose supplements
- Eat fermented foods
- Optimize your vitamin D levels
- Urinate after sex
- Eat prebiotic foods
- Remain properly hydrated
- Support your gut health
- Minimize stress
Additionally, make sure to check with your healthcare provider about specific health tips you should follow for your individualized health.
How to choose the best probiotics for UTI prevention
When choosing a probiotic strain to help urinary tract infections, look to the research to see what strains are used.
Most research has used two strains of probiotics to help prevent UTIs: Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
However, other types of probiotics like Saccharomyces boulardii reduce the growth of E.coli, which is the most common culprit in causing urinary tract infections.
Not only that but using probiotics also may prevent candida infections in the urinary tract as well.
Still, other probiotics called soil-based probiotics may reduce stubborn bacterial biofilms which make UTIs difficult to treat. The strains used in this study were Lactobacillus acidophillus, Lactobacillus rhamnosum, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Streptococcus thermophilus.
So, although we can’t necessarily say that probiotics help treat urinary tract infections, the odds are that they can help prevent you from getting a UTI in the first place or prevent a secondary urinary tract infection.
Plus, the health benefits of probiotics aren’t just for the urinary tract. They help almost every system in the body, including the digestive tract.
Related post:The Best Probiotics for Anxiety and OCD
Best probiotics for UTI: brands
Amy Myers Probiotic Capsules
Amy Myers Probiotic 100 Billion is the best probiotic for UTI prevention. Of all the probiotic supplements, this one is the strongest because it contains 100 Billion CFU of targeted healthy probiotic strains.
Because of this, Amy Myers Probiotic is also great for the immune system and digestive health. Many people also use this supplement for vaginal health and for helping treat bacterial vaginosis.
When it comes to probiotics and UTI infections, prevention is always best, and this blend is strong and diverse.
This product contains a 14 probiotic strains and a total of 100 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Lactobacillus salivarius.
Many people also use this probiotic to prevent a secondary infection, such as a yeast infection or bladder infection, that can happen after using antibiotics.
- The highest-strength probiotic on the market
- Contains many healing probiotic strains
- Helps overall health
- Is hypoallergenic and free of all major allergens
- Doctor formulated
- Costs about $2 per day
- GMP-certified and third-party inspected
- Occasionally, people don’t tolerate strong probiotics like this one at first.
- More expensive than some brands
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics Urinary Tract +
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics Urinary Tract+ is a good brand of probiotics for UTI prevention because it contains 16 strains of targeted probiotics that are also helpful in preventing yeast infections and supporting overall urinary tract health.
It is among the best probiotics for UTIs for males and females because it contains such a diverse strain of probiotics for urinary health.
These raw probiotic strains include 11 strains of Lactobacillus probiotics for UTI like Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, and 4 strains of Bifidobacterium probiotics. With a total of 50 billion CFU per 2 capsules, this is a very potent probiotic as well.
People also find it helpful for preventing and treating other kinds of infections like yeast infections. As a bonus, this also contains vitamin D3 and prebiotic fibers from organic resistant potato starch and organic acacia fiber. Contains cranberry fruit as well.
- Gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free
- No need to refrigerate
- Also contains cranberry and prebiotic fibers
- Costs about $1 per day
- Doctor formulated
- GMP-certified and 3rd party inspected
Cranberry can be irritating to some people’s bladders, but for most people, it is a helpful ingredient.
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Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics
Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics is a high-potency probiotic with 70 billion CFU and 10 probiotic strains including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum,Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus longum, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.
This probiotic contains many of the strains that researchers have used to help prevent UTIs.
Each bottle also contains a 3-month supply so it is a good value too.
- Highly concentrated at 70 billion CFUs
- Dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO
- GMP certified brand
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- About $0.80 per day
- Gets great reviews
- Does not contain Lactobacillus reuteri
Fem Dophilus is a blend of probiotic strains that are popular for UTI prevention. The Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri are probiotics women can benefit from. This highly-rated brand gets consistently high reviews and overwhelmingly positive results from customers.
Made by Jarrow Formulas, which is a GMP-certified supplement company as well.
- About $1 per day if you take 2 capsules per day.
- Made by Jarrow Formulas, a very trusted supplement company.
- Contains Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 which are clinically studied for their intended purpose
- Free of common allergens
- Gets great reviews for its intended purpose of UTI prevention, health for women, and prevention of vaginal infections
- One of the best women’s probiotics for UTI
Only has 2 billion CFU when taking 2 capsules per day which is much lower than most competitors
SBO Probiotics are a great brand of natural probiotics for overall health. This UTI probiotic with 50 Billion CFU and contain a blend of Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus claussi, and Bacillus subtilis probiotics.
It also contains a fermented botanical blend of organic black pepper, organic turmeric, and organic ginger. By supporting gut health and overall health, these preventive bladder infection probiotics support the whole body.
While most people use this brand of probiotics to improve digestive function and reduce gas and bloating, many people find that it helps prevent the side effects of antibiotic prescriptions.
The strain of bacteria in this probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii reduces the growth of E. coli in the gut [R, R]. This type of bacteria is the most common culprit bacteria in bladder infections and UTIs.
AZO Dual Protection
AZO Dual Protection Urinary + Vaginal Support is a clinically studied probiotic blend designed to be a women’s probiotic but can work well as a men’s probiotic too. This probiotic is a unique probiotic formula because it contains bacteriophages. Bacteriophages may reduce the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
While this probiotic brand contains a smaller amount of probiotics, their effectiveness is highly rated by thousands of reviewers and it contains Intelliflora which is a probiotic that also supports a healthy balance of yeast in the body and may help prevent and treat yeast infections. Its effectiveness is likely because it also contains bacteriophages like myoviridae and siphoviridae. The probiotic blend contains Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Lactobacillus jensenii.
- The only brand on the market to contain bacteriophages
- Supports urinary tract health in as little as 24 hours
- Free of major allergens
- A probiotic supplement with unique probiotic strains that are clinically studied
- Less than $1 per day per serving
- Lower doses of probiotics than most but the effectiveness is in part because of its unique probiotic blend and its bacteriophages.
Intelligent Labs Probiotics
Intelligent Labs Probiotics are a specific UTI Formula that contains both Cranberry Extract, D-Mannose, and Prebiotics. Because of this, Intelligent Labs is one of the best probiotics for UTI health.
People love this product for recurrent urinary tract infections and for this reason is considered one of the best probiotics for UTI treatment along with standard treatment.
Many people say that they stop getting urinary infections when starting this product, but keep in mind, that you are unique so you may not have the same experience.
It contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum probiotics, cranberry juice powder, sunfiber, fructooligosaccharides, and D-mannose.
- Free of major allergens
- Contains probiotics and synbiotics in addition to probiotics to improve urinary tract health
- Highly rated
- The best value at less than $0.40 per serving
- Costs less than when purchasing the ingredients alone
- Less total probiotic amounts than many brands at 6 billion CFU per serving
Other supplements for UTI prevention
Several other types of supplements can help manage UTIs. These include:
D-mannose is derived from cranberries and it is clinically shown to reduce the risk of UTI infections. It also improves people’s quality of life when they take it.
Vitamin D3 reduces the risk of UTI by about half according to research.
Additionally, vitamin A helps reduce symptoms of urinary tract infections in girls aged 2-12 years according to research.
Using cranberry supplements may also reduce the chances of getting a UTI. However, be aware that in some people, cranberry products can be irritating to the bladder.
Commonly asked questions
Can probiotics cause UTI?
No. There are no case reports of UTIs with probiotic use or research studies showing that probiotics can cause UTIs. Still it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider before starting probiotic supplements.
Do probiotics need to be refrigerated?
Typically no. However, certain types are best refrigerated. The supplement label will indicate if you should refrigerate your probiotics.
When is the best time to take probiotics?
When it comes to probiotics and UTI prevention, studies don’t designate the timing of taking it. Therefore, the best time to take probiotics is when you are most likely to remember them.
However, some practitioners advise people to take them first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. While The Healthy RD’s posts are backed by research, you are unique, so you must seek care from your own dietitian or healthcare provider. This post is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of the new book Gut Fix and The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.