How to Prevent UTIs While Traveling (or at home)

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One of the biggest challenges of my past decade of travel has been learning how to prevent UTIs while traveling. For about 15 years, I have suffered from several urinary tract infections per year, and it has been one of the most painful and irritating things to deal with while on the road.

This has been a huge part of my life, but this is the first time I’ve shared it publicly.

Ask me about my UTI history while traveling, and I can tell you about holding my empty prescription bottle of Macrobid at a pharmacy in Mexico, begging a skeptical pharmacist to just give me some, that I’ve been prescribed it before. I can tell you about missing a morning of exploring Paris as I waited to be seen by a doctor in a cramped office by Montmartre. I can tell you about getting an ultrasound in posh Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok after several UTIs in a row left me in nonstop pain for weeks.

I may travel more than most women, but I know that I’m not alone when it comes to frequent UTIs. Most women have suffered from a UTI at least once in their lives, and many women get them several times a year, despite taking as many precautions as possible.

For many women, UTIs are most often caused by sex. For this reason, our pain is often dismissed by doctors and we are simply prescribed antibiotics over and over, in a time when antibiotic resistance is a scary thing to contemplate.

However, there are ways to prevent UTIs that keep you from having to take more antibiotics. I have spent years in UTI forums online that are populated with desperate women in my same position. Women who keep being told to drink cranberry juice and pee after sex and who know that that’s not enough. Women desperate for relief who are eager to try anything, and have tried it all.

After years of trial and error, I have FINALLY figured out how to prevent UTIs while traveling.


I’m not being hyperbolic — ask any woman who learned how to get her UTIs under control, and she would say the same thing. It absolutely changes your life. Suddenly, you can enjoy sex again without worrying that it’s going to cause you an infection.

How did I go from having a UTI every few weeks to going several months without any UTIs? It’s a combination of taking certain probiotics, taking D-Mannose twice a day and extra after sex, and changing my behavior. Each of these is a vital step in preventing UTIs.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Which is obvious, because UTIs are an issue that many medical professionals do not seem to have an interest in treating or alleviating UTIs beyond prescribing antibiotics. If you’re suffering from chronic UTIs, you should speak with a medical professional, because it could be the indication of something serious.

Also — this post is NOT sponsored at all, but I will earn a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you if you buy any of the supplements through the links.

Rows of vines at a vineyard in Stellenbosch, South Africa, mountains in the background.

UTIs and Misogyny

The most common trigger for UTIs in women is sex. For many women, having sex just once can be the incident that causes a UTI. Because of this, many people, including medical professionals, don’t take the debilitating pain of UTIs seriously.

I fully believe that we don’t have a clear solution to treating UTIs naturally because it’s wrapped up in misogyny. UTIs are something painful that happens to women who have sex. Well, if you weren’t so sex-crazed, you dirty slut, you’d feel just fine!

Even in the film version of Eat, Pray, Love, Liz gets a UTI and it’s played off almost positively — well, you’re having sex again, so here you are! (Ryan Murphy directed the film. Had a woman directed it, I think that scene would have played out very differently.)

Imagine being in extreme pain from a UTI and having to wait forever to see a doctor. You give a urine sample and pace the office for two hours until you’re seen. The doctor looks at you, smiles, and says, “You know, you should always pee after sex.”

Are you kidding me? Do you think I’ve never been told this before?

I do everything right. I pee after sex. I pee before sex. I guzzle water before sex. I shower both before and after sex. I lie in the bathtub, legs splayed in the air, letting the stream of water land directly on my nether regions.

We pee after sex. WE ALL PEE AFTER SEX. And we still get UTIs.

I once heard someone say that if men could get pregnant, you could get an abortion at the ATM. I feel the same way about UTIs. If UTIs after sex were as common and painful for men as they are for women, we would have had a concrete prevention system decades ago.

If I were a crazy-rich billionaire, I would honestly be funding tons of FDA research into UTI prevention supplements. Evidence shows that probiotics and D-Mannose can reduce the frequency of UTIs in women — but because the only evidence is from clinical studies, not proper FDA trials, doctors don’t tell their patients about it.

People hanging out on the rocky coastline in the blue water of Aci Trezza, Sicily

Dealing with UTIs While Traveling

If you have had a UTI — and most women have — you know how debilitating it can be. Suddenly, out of nowhere, you are in horrific pain. Peeing feels like you have razor blades slicing up your urethra, and as soon as you’re done peeing, you need to pee again. And you can’t function in any real way until it’s treated.

At home, it’s often easy — if you’re a frequent UTI sufferer, you just call your doctor and they call in a prescription for Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) or whatever antibiotic they usually prescribe you.

What do you do when you get a UTI while traveling?

But what happens if a UTI crops up while you’re on the road? How do you find medical care? Where do you go? What if the language and alphabet are totally different?! You feel so helpless.

Every country has a different healthcare system and different countries treat UTIs differently. And believe me, I know. I have traveled to more than 80 countries in the past decade and have have had urinary tract infections in nearly a dozen different countries.

In many developing countries, you can simply go to a pharmacy, tell the pharmacist you have a UTI, describe your symptoms, and the pharmacist will give you antibiotics, no examination necessary.

In other countries, you’ll need to see a doctor and get a prescription. That could mean going to an urgent care clinic, going to the local international medical center, or going to the nearest hospital.

My top recommendation to frequent UTI sufferers is to ask your doctor for an extra prescription for a UTI before you go on a trip, just in case you get one, so you won’t have to deal with medical care abroad. Some doctors will be happy to do this; some doctors will not do this.

While I recommend seeing a travel doctor before a big trip, this antibiotics prescription is something you should get from your regular doctor, since they are the ones who know your UTI history.

If a UTI hits while you’re traveling, look up where to go in your guidebook, do online research, or ask in expat groups. Women expats can be especially helpful for this; if you don’t know any expats, ask a woman who works at a hotel or in the travel industry.

Stacked pill bottles in a row: probiotics, D-Mannose, Control, and Target
These are the supplements I take to prevent UTIs.

How to Prevent UTIs

Preventing UTIs is more than just peeing after sex and drinking cranberry juice. It’s a combination of taking the right supplements and modifying your behavior, both your daily habits and sexual habits.

I’ve found that there are three categories of UTI prevention:

  1. Take the right supplements.
  2. Modify your behavior.
  3. Modify your sexual behavior.

UTI Prevention Supplements

I have tried SO many different combinations of UTI prevention supplements over the years. Cranberry extract. Calcium citrate. Uva Ursi. And none of them truly worked that well.

Finally, I have found a supplement combination that has kept me from getting UTIs for months:

Viva Naturals Probiotics

Probiotics to Prevent UTIs

You may have heard of probiotics in conjunction with gut health — probiotics are the “good bacteria” that help your digestion. But some strains of probiotics are incredibly important for your vaginal health as well, which plays into preventing UTIs.

Some clinical studies in the United States, including this one, have shown that certain strains of probiotics are effective in preventing UTIs in women: specifically, the lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus reuteri strains. This study found that women who frequently get UTIs taking these specific probiotics reduced the rate of UTIs in their subjects from six per year to 1.6 per year.

Think of it this way: when you have good bacteria clinging to your vaginal walls, it blocks bad bacteria from being able to attach to the vaginal walls and later enter your urinary tract. For that reason, you want the good bacteria in your vagina. It’s a protective barrier.

Conversely, taking antibiotics can destroy the good bacteria in your system. This is one reason why some women get recurrent UTIs — because they get a UTI, take antibiotics to kill the bacteria, the antibiotics kill the good bacteria as well, and later, more bad bacteria is able to land on the vaginal walls because the good bacteria isn’t there.

Most doctors don’t tell you this, which drives me crazy! They should! Everyone should take probiotics whenever they’re prescribed antibiotics!

When I had strep throat recently in Mexico, I was given a prescription for probiotics along with my antibiotics to keep my good bacteria levels up. This has NEVER happened when I’ve had strep in the US.

For this reason, I take probiotics every day to prevent UTIs.

The brand I take is Viva Naturals Probiotics for Women.

I chose this brand after extensive research because it is the Cadillac of probiotics for women.

Viva Naturals Probiotics for Women contains 50 billion CFU (most sources recommend a minimum of 10-15 million CFU); 20 different strains of probiotics; cranberry powder; and 50 mg of prebiotics, which are basically food for probiotics that help them work better.

Most importantly, this brand of probiotics contains both lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus reuteri — the two strains of probiotics that studies found reduced recurrent UTIs for women. And it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, which makes it convenient for travel.

Zazzee Naturals D-Mannose

D-Mannose to prevent UTIs

When you mention UTIs, people often say, “Drink cranberry juice!” This is bad advice — while cranberry extract contains properties that can prevent UTIs, cranberry juice is mostly sugar.

So what SHOULD you be taking? D-Mannose — a natural sugar found in lots of fruits, including cranberries.

THIS is the effective product — not cranberry juice.

Like probiotics, there is clinical data to back this up. A clinical study found that D-Mannose powder reduced recurrent UTIs at the same rate as nitrofurantoin (Macrobid, the commonly prescribed antibiotic).

In other words, this study found that taking D-Mannose to prevent UTIs is just as effective as taking antibiotics. That is HUGE.

The brand I take is Zazzee Naturals D-Mannose.

There isn’t a huge difference with D-Mannose brands — they’re all pretty similar, though if you have a corn allergy, you should seek out D-Mannose made from non-corn sources. I chose Zazzee Naturals because it has the cheapest unit price overall.

You can save even more if you buy D-Mannose powder rather than capsules, but because I travel so often, it’s much easier to pack capsules rather than a big jar of powder.

One BIG tip: D-Mannose doesn’t work effectively if it’s too diluted. You may think that more water is better, but when you take D-Mannose, you should stick to half a cup of water, wait half an hour to 45 minutes for it to work, then drink more water.

(Side note: when I had a UTI in Paris several years ago, I was given a single packet of powder to drink with water rather than an antibiotic prescription. While I don’t know for sure, today I suspect that I was given D-Mannose powder.)

Uqora packets

Uqora for UTIs

Uqora is a line of UTI-prevention products and they are an absolute godsend. What I love is that they are specifically for targeting UTIs, and were created by a frequent UTI sufferer desperate for relief. The Uqora products are primarily made from D-Mannose, but they also supplement with other ingredients.

In my years of researching UTI prevention, I have never come across supplements that use several different herbs to treat UTIs specifically until now.

Uqora has three different products:

  • Promote, a UTI-prevention daily probiotic (which I don’t take)
  • Control, a UTI-prevention daily D-Mannose supplement
  • Target, a UTI-prevention powder that you mix with water and drink after sex or a UTI-causing event

You can buy all three products together for a discount.

Control is primarily D-Mannose — a single dosage of two capsules is 600 mg. It also contains green tea extract, turmeric extract, and black pepper powder.

You take Control daily to clear out the bacteria from your bladder.

Target is a much higher dosage of D-Mannose — a packet gives you 2000 milligrams (2 grams). It also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.

You mix a Target packet with water and take it after UTI-triggering activities to flush your system. For most women, the UTI-triggering event is sex. For others, it can be working out or going a long time without urinating. The Uqora people recommend taking it every three days, even when you don’t have a UTI-triggering event.

Uqora is a bit on the pricey side, and you may be wondering if it’s necessary. Couldn’t I just take more D-Mannose? It’s up to you — you could absolutely try just using similar doses of D-Mannose and see how it works for you.

But I have to say that I LOVE Uqora Target, the post-sex powder drink, in particular. After I take Target, which tastes like pink lemonade, my bladder feels so CLEAN and EMPTY. This feels different to me from just taking D-Mannose. But keep in mind that every person is different.

Also, the Uqora customer service team is great. They offer big discounts if you subscribe, but I always have to order several months’ worth at once due to my travel schedule. They came to me and offered to bring the price down to accommodate my irregular deliveries.

The Supplements I Take to Prevent UTIs

Every morning when I get up, this is what I take:

Every evening before I go to bed, this is what I take:

After sex, or whenever I feel like I need extra prevention, or every three days, this is what I take:

Kate leans down to drink from a pyramid-shaped water fountain in Yerevan, Armenia.
Hydrating frequently is one of many things you can do to prevent UTIs.

UTI Prevention Tips

It’s not just about the supplements — there are other ways to reduce your risk of UTIs. Here are some of my behavior-based UTI prevention tips:

Stop wearing thongs. Thongs — I’m talking about underwear here, Australians — very easily bring bacteria toward your vaginal area. You should only wear them when necessary (like a formal dress that can’t show panty lines). NEVER work out in a thong. I learned the hard way that exercising while wearing a thong is one of my UTI triggers.

Hydrate frequently. You don’t need to become a guzzling machine, but we could all stand to hydrate better. Get in the habit of having a big reusable water bottle by you while you work or watch TV.

Don’t sit around in gym clothes post-workout. Shower immediately and put on new underwear.

Don’t sit around in wet bathing suits. As soon as you’re done swimming for the day, it’s time to change.

Urinate frequently. When you hold it in, bacteria has a chance to grow. This is especially important when you’re traveling and not sure when you’ll have a chance to use a bathroom.

Eat more vegetables and consume less sugar. Eating healthy can contribute to a healthy vaginal microbiome. Sugar can worsen UTI symptoms.

Consider trying Whole30. Whole30 is a 30-day meal plan where you don’t consume sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, or processed foods. Your body feels SO much better when you cut all of this out at once. I’ve done it twice.

Eating Whole30 is not sustainable full-time as it’s so strict, but even after the 30 days end, I have lasting effects (my skin cleared up permanently!), and went for several months without any UTIs. Read about my Whole30 experience here.

Modifying Your Sexual Behavior

Shower before sex — and have your partner shower, too. This is one tip I’ve seen frequently shared on lots of forums. For lots of women, simply showering with their partner beforehand can make a huge difference in reducing the frequency of UTIs.

Pee after sex. It’s most effective if it’s a strong stream, rather than a few droplets, so you may want to drink a glass of water before sex.

Shower after sex, too, or just wash your nether regions.

Do not cross-contaminate. I can’t believe I’m about to write this on my blog, but if anything goes anywhere close to a butt during sex, it doesn’t go anywhere near a vag until it’s been thoroughly disinfected.

An empty swinging bench on the beach at sunrise on Tybee Island.

Will this work for me?

Many women have been able to reduce the frequency of UTIs by taking probiotics and D-Mannose and modifying their behavior. I am one of those women, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my life is no longer hampered by these frequent infections.

That doesn’t mean that my personal combination will be effective for you. Every body is unique.

However, the clinical studies have shown that lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus reuteri probiotics and D-Mannose reduce the frequency of UTIs. For that reason, I recommend starting your process with probiotics containing these strains and D-Mannose supplements.

Even though this combination of supplements has worked for me for months, this may not work for me every single time. I know this, and if I get another UTI, it’s not the end of the world.

But if this means I get one UTI per year instead of five UTIs per year, it is SO worth it.

Kate sitting in the arch of a red rock formation in Kalbarri, Western Australia.
You don’t have to go it alone.

Please share this post with the UTI sufferers in your life.

So many of us suffer from frequent UTIs, and it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have women in your life who get UTIs frequently, I recommend sharing this post with them. You could change their lives for the better.

The reason why I’ve been blogging about solo female travel for ten years is because I want to help women. Helping women is the center of everything I do here — it’s what motivates and drives me. But I have the feeling that this may be my most helpful post of all.

See all my resources for independent female travelers here.

Do you have frequent UTIs? What works for you?

41 thoughts on “How to Prevent UTIs While Traveling (or at home)”

  1. The change-immediately-after-working out was a life changer for me. I had been sitting in sweaty clothes for a while (would come back from the gym, make dinner, sit down and watch tv while eating, etc) and now I just come home and first thing I do is rinse, and put on fresh clothes. Made SUCH a difference.

    1. It did for me too. I thought I was being a good worker if I came home and worked for two hours before showering — nope. Made things worse. And the absolute worst was working out while wearing a thong…

  2. I am so glad you wrote this, and I feel seen. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to have only suffered from one UTI, I have been struggling for 10 years with chronic vaginal infections. They are worst when I am in the US (I am very diet-conscious but I think it’s the higher amounts of sugar in foods here combined with fewer fermented foods). Additionally, I have pitiful healthcare options in the US. Usually I can’t get into a primary care or gynecologist, so I have to go see an urgent care doc–usually male–who argues with me about my symptoms, doesn’t take a swab to test for what kind of bacteria I’m infected with, and then decides I have a UTI and gives me the wrong meds, so I have to keep going back.

    I once calculated that I’ve spent roughly $20,000 USD over the past decade on doctor’s visits, taking off work for doctor’s visits, prescriptions, probiotics, anti-itch products, and every other homeopathic remedy under the sun. I’m moving to South Africa this weekend, and my fiance there has already lined up an appointment for me with his sister’s gyno because my current yeast infection has been raging for 3 months and I haven’t been able to get any effective medical care here in the US despite having pretty solid insurance.

    1. Oh Ellie, I’m so sorry to hear that. That sounds SO frustrating. I agree with you — I think one reason why Americans struggle health is because of a diet overloaded with sugar and not enough fermented foods.

      I hope things get better for you in South Africa.

    2. So sorry to hear about this! While I have no idea what all you’ve tried, I just thought I’d add my 2 cents in case it’s worth anything. A few years ago I was having reoccurring vaginal infections on and off for several months. On the last one I was able to get in to see my regular gyno and discussed my frustrations. Luckily she was able to provide a referral to a women’s doctor who specialized in these types of things. After the first appointment with the specialist and following their instructions, etc, it hasn’t happened since *knocks on wood*. If you haven’t tried yet, maybe you can find a specialist? Good luck!!

  3. Ah, I’m sure many people will able to empathise with this post. I too spent several years getting chronic infections, which involved taking so many packs of antibiotics I lost count and included being on antibiotics for three straight months at one point because it was so bad and seemingly impossible to clear (my doctors reassured me that the risks of resistance were negligible, but I was so worried about that too). Eventually, I was able to see a specialist, who immediately tested for two rare urethral bugs and the tests were positive! I needed stronger, unusual antibiotics (and a few courses at that) but now things are so much better, barring a few false starts where I got two bad kidney infections as I had both a standard UTI and the rare bacteria at the same time, and only being treated for the rare form led the standard one to ravage my whole system. Aah, good times. As you say, it is honestly life changing to find a solution to UTI problems. I would recommend asking about bugs embedded in your urethra if standard pills aren’t clearing it up! At least now, I have huge supply of nitrofurantoin (for a while I had it prescribed to take daily, but my problems began to clear, so it became just after sex and finally not at all) so I’m never without a pack when I travel! Thanks for writing this. So many of us have been there.

    1. I am SO glad that you shared this — and even happier that you were able to get this resolved. I wish doctors would take this seriously!

      Oh, and I also have a huge supply of nurofurantoin from a sympathetic pharmacist abroad. They gave me enough to treat four UTIs.

  4. Last year I thought I was having chronic UTIs, often coming on when I traveled or when I was running (one came on while I was running a marathon in Kenya, talk about painful!). I went to the doctor multiple times with symptoms, but my labs were consistently negative. After finally being referred to a urologist, I was diagnosed with tight pelvic floor muscles, which were causing my body to mimic the symptoms of a UTI. After a few sessions of physical therapy focused on changing my breathing and loosening both my hips and pelvic floor muscles, I haven’t had an issue in more than a year. It’s been pretty miraculous.

    1. Incredible. I hadn’t heard about pelvic floor therapists until fairly recently from friends who gave birth — so glad this is a thing that exists! And so glad that things got better for you.

  5. Thank you for your vulnerable and very informative post. I read it because I have so many friends that suffer from this and I’ll admit I’ve said, “you have to make sure you pee after sex” because I didn’t know much about this until you informed me. (Now I feel really awkward.) I’m going to save your post so I can use it to help others. I’m sure there are many women who think you are a life saver!

  6. Cracked up when I read the “Do not cross-contaminate” line! I went through a period where I was getting them a LOT, and the only advice from the GP (who always gave me a prescription) was to pee after sex, and after that wasn’t stopping them, he said I need to double pee! Thanks for the info on the supplements, I’ll be buying some to keep handy.

  7. Great post! I too struggled with UTIs for years..I even was taking an antibiotic after sex, for awhile! I hated it, but my doctor had no other ideas. I was told over, and over, to wipe front to back, pee after sex, try not to change sexual partners too often (?!?), and none of it ever worked (although my favorite advice was in Prague, to drink a lot of fluids–“like beer” haha). FINALLY, someone recommended D-Mannose to me, and it changed my life!!!
    Thanks for spreading great health information for women on the road, and in general. xo

  8. Wow! I have never had a UTI in my life but since my travels were put on hold to assume the role of caregiver to my in laws I have learned a lot about UTIs. In the elderly a UTI can be devastating and exacerbates dementia symptoms. In fact, at the first sign of worsening behavior a UTI is always the prime suspect. I’ll be sharing your article in my caregivers group on Facebook as UTIs are discussed several times a day. Thank you!

  9. I think this a great post to for you to write and this is a condition that many women in particular suffer from. I have suffered UTIs while abroad but despite the fact this represents one of the most common clinical bacterial infections in women the fact that this was a common problem hadn’t really occurred to me. Anecdotally, for me when I am abroad and in need of a “quick fix” perhaps without access to a pharmacist/doctor then yoghurt works wonders. Yes just to eat no local application required! Can provide very speedy relief and is usually easy to source.

    Unfortunately there is a lack of randomised controlled trials on the effectiveness of various interventions for the prevention of UTI recurrence. There is moderate evidence for the efficacy of certain effective lactobacilli for the prevention of recurrence compared to placebo. There is also moderate evidence for the use of D-mannose in preventing recurrence compared to no treatment. And if you find something that works for you then stick with it! The NICE guidelines on lower UTIs are useful and fairly up to date and contain a link to the evidence review if anyone is interested:

  10. Ugh, UTIs are the worst! It’s like trying to pee glass shards! I haven’t had any in a while, thank goodness, but I will definitely pass on your post!

      1. Thank you for writing this article. This really gives me hope. I live outside the US and I’m wondering how I could get all those supplements you mentioned. Xoxxo

  11. Yessss thank you thank you thank you for this post. Like my mom, I had chronic, nearly ongoing UTIs in my 20s, despite doing all the right things. You almost get a PTSD like effect, where you panic everytime you pee and it feels off, even if it’s not a UTI. Eventually I had a cystoscopy, which found no abnormalities, but after that, my UTIs got better (as in a few a year versus one a month). I honestly don’t know it that procedure changed my anatomy to make it harder for bacteria to cling, but I think that it did. I whole heartily second the making your partner shower before sex thing, especially if your partner is a man. I will start implementing these probiotic tips ASAP. Thank you for this post, I am sure it will change someone’s life!

    1. I’m so glad you’re starting the probiotics! They make such a big difference. My mom used to get tons of UTIs too but she kept telling me, “Don’t worry, they stopped after I gave birth!”

  12. This is amazing information! Thank you for your candidness! Keep sharing more women specific topics. Thanks, Kate!!!

  13. When I was a teenager, I got frequent UTI’s. The biggest thing that has made a difference my health (UTI’s but overall health)- is limiting sugar intake and eating fermented foods.

    There are days I eat very little BUT fermented foods- yogurt, kombucha, dark chocolate and bone broth with kim chi may be all that I eat some days.

    Of course all the other suggestions are helpful, but if we don’t get our sugar intake under control, we are just creating an environment that is very welcoming to bad bacteria, and we want our bodies to be strong enough to resist that.

    A life with a lot of travel can wear down our bodies, at least it does mine. It’s great for my spirit and head, but takes a big toll on my physical body. UTI’s and other ways.

    May all women find what works for them and get UTI’s under control!

  14. While I don’t suffer from UTIs, I used to have repeat afflictions of a similar sort and want to thank you for deciding to write about this, sharing your experience and helping to destigmitize this issue 🙂

  15. Ah I have a photo of me sitting in that exact same spot in Kalbarri 🙂

    About UTI’s, yes I used to get them quite a bit. I was told I had low IgA and was prone to infections. I am glad you have found your solution as I did too. I changed my diet and got off processed foods and went onto wholefoods. When in public I only eat raw vegan as I like to know the source of where animal products come from before I eat them and I’ll only eat organic grass-fed sources. When I buy and make my own meals at home I can be confident that I have the best ingredients at hand, but while eating at restaurants while traveling it’s not possible to know.
    Now I’m single and happy. There are some very good vibrators out there, that are (dare I say: more) satisfying without the consequences.

  16. OMG this post is permanently saved and I am not researching which of these supplements I could take in Russia. I have been suffering from UTI’s for over 15 years, and am ALWAYS paranoid about getting one! Tho I also mostly get them from sex, last summer during the European heatwave I got one in Paris, from dehydration. I was given the powder thing but it didnt work, and then was given 10 days of a ton of antibiotics and no probiotics upon my return to Russia. It messed up everything from my intestines to vaginal health to all kinds of other pains SO MUCH, that I am STILL undergoing a lengthy and exhausting treatment from the side effects >.< And funny (not funny at all) thing is, that bc of my UTI susceptibility I practically never leave the house without my tried and true antibiotics. I was going to Paris for basically 48 hours for work, knew that there would be no hook ups and…. not like anything could go wrong that my local colleagues couldnt help me with? Yeah….

  17. I have been traveling for 7 years full time, once a year i have to struggle like crazy to figure out how to get antibiotics. It’s a disaster, last time was in Cyprus and the amount of face palming emojis i want to add to that experience would fill up the whole comment space. I also have had many urine tests that say that I am on the verge of a UTI but i don’t necessarily need antibiotics yet, so they say drink cranberry juice and come back if it persists or gets worse. And i’m in agony and it always gets worse and then I have to go through the whole process again. You may end up changing my life, if when they say my urine is leading in a bad directions but not a UTI yet, I will down the probiotics, etc. Thanks so much.

    1. “Drink cranberry juice” is the WORST advice. But if you do feel a UTI coming on, down a ton of D-Mannose, not probiotics. Once the infection starts it’s too late for probiotics to have an effect.

  18. I don’t know if this could also have an impact on UTIs, but ingesting foods high in oxalate ( can increase calcium oxalate in urine and really aggravate vaginal tissue. I learned about this after having external vaginal tissue irritation for months after giving birth; because my estrogen levels were super low due to breastfeeding, my vaginal tissue was having a hard time healing. I was also eating a lot of foods high in oxalate and as soon as my naturopath recommended I cut back on those, it immediately improved. Here is a spreadsheet referenced in that article that details exactly how much oxalate is in each type of food:

    I did a quick google search and it does appear that kidney stones can cause frequent UTIs. Glad that you’ve found a reliable prevention plan – UTIs suck!

  19. I typed this before but it didn’t show up so apologies if double posting! It’s super important to me. For ladies in South America, Africa and bits of Asia as well: if you suddenly start getting a rollicking lot of UTIs with no other behavioural changes – get testes for Bilharzia. I was told this by a friend, pooh-poohed it even though I got about 7 UTIs in 9 months, and eventually after asking doctors (and then having a test which they forgot to give me the results of back in February! Yeah I’m mad…) yesterday I was told that I had tested positive. Doing some reading there are some Bilharzia strains that attack the urinary tract particularly so please – if nothing else works get tested for that too. Thanks Kate for so fulsomely covering such an important topic.

  20. Thank you so much for this!
    Just feel like you might be interested to know that the powder medicine you were given in Paris was most likely Fosfomycin, a single dose soluble powder antibiotic, not just a cranberry supplement. I live here and that seems to be the usual medication for treating UTIs, and it works just as well. 🙂 I was also prescribed the exact same in Brazil, where I’m originally from.
    Keep up the great work and take care!

  21. Thanks for this, this is really helpful!
    As someone who has had several holidays ruined by UTIs, I’ll take all the advice I can get. Just in case this might be helpful, I came across another tip when I last had a UTI that seems to be pretty effective (I haven’t had one since I started doing it). It was in an old self-help book on cystitis by Angela Kilmartin that my mother gave me and it basically involves washing yourself with a bottle every time you have a bowel movement, so as not to be too graphic. It’s really just a way of making sure you’re as clean as possible, so there aren’t any bacteria there that could give you an infection in the first place. It’s a really simple habit to get into and it seems to work really well, especially in addition to taking probiotics and D-mannose!
    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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