How Eating Sugar Can Cause Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

(Originally Posted on Jan 5, 2015)

That dreaded burning sensation and urgency when you urinate could mean one of several things.

And it’s worse when the symptoms start on a Friday night and you may have to wait to see your doctor.

The most likely diagnosis is a urinary tract infection, or UTI. But how can such a delicious substance cause such painful symptoms in our bladder?

Did you know that eating too much sugar can actually cause a UTI?

If cutting down on sugary treats (to help you lose weight) is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, avoiding a UTI is yet another reason why this Resolution has multiple benefits.

Read on for answers about why UTIs occur and how to avoid them.

What Causes a UTI?

The most common bacteria to blame for a bladder infection is E. coli. These bacteria are inside of the intestinal tract and can easily invade the urinary tract after a bowel movement.

Since the anus and urethra are so close together in women, sometimes all it takes is the trigger of sexual activity to spark a urinary tract infection.

Once the bacteria have been introduced into the urethra, they migrate to the bladder (and can even make it to the kidneys), wreaking havoc in these areas.

How Does Sugar Help Promote UTIs?

Like any other living organism, E. coli needs nutrients and sugar is something that these bacteria love. With the introduction of sugar into body, the acid level of urine becomes more hospitable for E. coli, thus allowing the infection to progress more rapidly.

How You Can Lessen the Chance of Developing a UTI

Have you heard people say, “drink cranberry juice” to combat a UTI? That strategy is sound advice. Cranberries contain a compound called D-Mannose that scientists have proven can prevent E. coli from adhering to the walls of the bladder.

With proper fluid intake (lots of plain water), one glass of cranberry juice per day can help prevent a UTI. The key is to drink 100% cranberry juice. But for many people, it’s just too sour to handle.

On her website “Dr. Deborah MD”, she suggests that taking D-Mannose supplements can be an effective way to help prevent UTIs because they are “10-15 times more potent than cranberry juice.”

Other Tips for Preventing UTIs

  1. Drink lots of water! At least 64 ounces a day is ideal, even more if you live in a dry climate or lose fluids through sweating (exercise).
  2. When going to the bathroom, wipe from front to back. When you wipe from back to front, you bring bacteria forward.
  3. Avoid eating sugar and drinking sugary products such as soda.
  4. Get tested for food allergies, as this alone can trigger bladder infections in some people.

Who Are You Going to Call When a UTI Strikes?

Your doctor is just a phone call away when that dreadful twinge of pain starts. You will need a quick visit to confirm the diagnosis, get a prescription, and verify that the antibiotic prescribed is effective against the particular bacteria found in your urine.

This step is important since not all antibiotics work for all bacteria and there are many organisms resistant to these products.

Remember, when symptoms start, call us as early as possible so we can get you in, send a culture and prescribe the proper treatment.

If you’re looking for a local Board Certified OB GYN doctor in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, or Palm Beach Gardens, give us a call at (561) 434-0111.

Women’s health & wellness is our sole focus. We also have access to integrative health services for patients (such as food allergy testing) to help you become the healthiest you can be.

Give our offices a call today to make your first appointment.


Dr. Sam Lederman

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