Increasing antimicrobial resistance has stimulated interest in non-antibiotic prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Well-known steps in the pathogenesis of UTIs are urogenital colonization and adherence of uropathogens to uroepithelial cell receptors. To prevent colonization in postmenopausal women, vaginal, but not oral, estrogens have been shown to restore the vagina lactobacilli flora, reduce vaginal colonization with Enterobacteriaceae,
and reduce the number of UTIs compared to placebo. Different lactobacilli strains show different results in the prevention of recurrent UTIs. Intravaginal suppositories with Lactobacillus crispatus
in premenopausal women and oral capsules with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1
and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14
in postmenopausal women are promising. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) cannot be recommended for the prevention of UTIs. Cranberries are thought to contain proanthocyanidins that can inhibit adherence of P-fimbriated E. coli
to the uroepithelial cell receptors. Cranberry products decreased UTI recurrences about 30%–40% in premenopausal women with recurrent UTIs, but are less effective than low-dose antimicrobial prophylaxis. However, the optimal dose of cranberry product has still to be determined. Initially OM-89, a vaccine with 18 heat-killed E. coli
extracts, seemed promising, but this was not confirmed in a recently randomized trial.
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