Urinary tract infections (UTI) are pretty common and are usually caused by bacteria (e.g. E.coli) . In terms of symptoms, the severity can vary from mild to severe depending on whether the infection has reached the kidneys. Today's focus is on preventive options (refer below) that are available over the counter i.e. without a prescription.
Preventive treatments for UTIs are considered when you have recurrent infections. You are considered to have recurrent UTIs if you have either1:
- Two or more infections in six months; or
- Three or more infections in a year
Methamine Hippurate (Hexamine Hippurate) and Cranberry juice/supplements are two popular over the counter options for preventing recurrent UTIs. Take note of some of the important pointers for these medicines down below.
Methamine Hippurate2, 3
- It works by changing the chemical composition of your urine, thereby resulting in an unfavourable environment for bacteria
- It requires the pH of the urine to be < 5.5, therefore products like Sodium Bicarbonate, Ural, and Citravescent can make it less effective
- Not effective for treating UTIs
- Not as effective as antibiotics for preventing recurrent UTIs
- Safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding
- If you have gout, urate crystals might form in your urine
- A small potential benefit is demonstrated if cranberry is taken consistently in high doses
- Existing clinical trial evidence is weak and doesn’t currently support the use of cranberry juice/supplements for the prevention of UTIs
- Large amounts of cranberry juice/supplements can increase the effects of warfarin (a blood thinning medicine)
In conclusion, more research needs to go into cranberry and its use in preventing recurrent UTIs. In terms of methamine hippurate, it has a role in therapy for preventing mild cases of recurrent UTIs. Most importantly, it is vital that you seek the opinion of your healthcare provider to assist you in finding the best treatment strategy tailored to your specific needs.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading =)
Created by KW
- NPS MedicineWise. What is a urinary tract infection? [Internet]. NPS MedicineWise [updated 2014 July 10; cited 2017 April 2]. Available from: http://www.nps.org.au/conditions/urine-bladder-and-kidney-problems/bladder-disorders/urinary-tract-infections/for-individuals/what-it-is#recurrent-uti
- NPS MedicineWise. How can urinary tract infections be prevented? [Internet]. NPS MedicineWise [updated 2014 July 1; cited 2017 April 2]. Available from:http://www.nps.org.au/conditions/urine-bladder-and-kidney-problems/bladder-disorders/urinary-tract-infections/for-individuals/prevention#cranberry-juice
- Australian Medicines Handbook [Internet]. Adelaide SA: Australian Medicines Handbook; [updated 2017; cited 2017 April 2]. Available from: https://amhonline.amh.net.au/chapters/chap-05/antibacterials-01/antibacterials-other-01/hexamine-hippurate