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Can Vitamins, Minerals or Herbs Cause UTIs?

By Michelle Zehr

Urinary tract infections -- or UTIs -- are painful infections that may affect your bladder, kidneys, ureters or urethra. UTIs are rarely dangerous infections but do require treatment by a doctor and often an antibiotic. Vitamins, minerals and herbs do not cause UTIs. They are often used as alternative medicine for urinary tract infections.

Causes of UTIs

Urinary tract infections have a number of different causes. The biggest risk factor for developing a UTI is being female. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, women are 10 times more likely to develop a UTI than men are. Other causes of UTIs include a history of urinary tract infections, diabetes, pregnancy, holding your urine for extended periods of time, a new sex partner, being sexually active or having sex with multiple partners.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and immune system booster that can help prevent the occurrence of UTIs and help reduce your symptoms -- such as painful urination. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 500 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C once or twice per day if you experience recurring urinary tract infections. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C can help to prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder.

Bromelain

The University of Michigan Health System recognizes bromelain as an agent for enhancing the effects of antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infections. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme located in the core of pineapples. UMHS recommends 400 mg of bromelain per day for two days while receiving treatment for UTIs. UMHS cites a double-blind trial in which participants received an antibiotic plus bromelain for two days. Another group received an antibiotic plus a placebo. One hundred percent of the individuals who received bromelain saw their infection clear, compared to only 46 percent who received the placebo.

Herbs

The University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that herbs are a safe way to tone and strengthen the systems of your body. Herbal remedies used in the treatment of urinary tract infections should not replace medical care. Green tea extract can be used as an antioxidant and to help boost your immune system. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 250 to 500 mg daily during urinary tract infections. Reishi mushrooms and cat's claw extract can also help to boost your immune system. UMHS indicates the extract of uva ursi can help to kill bacteria in your bladder. UMHS recommends 100 to 250 mg of uva ursi up to three times per day. Use uva ursi at the discretion of your physician.

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