After about my hundredth urinary tract infection, my gynecologist told me, “Some women are just prone to them.”
Past me just cried, but the current me would be like, Are you fucking serious?
That’s why I’m excited about Uqora, a new line of products with the goal of preventing UTIs.
Most UTI products out there — AZO (never worked for me), old-fashioned cranberry juice (too sugary), and Macrobid (100 milligrams is the only thing my body responds to) — seek to treat UTIs during a flare-up. Uqora is really the first line of products on the market to focus on UTI prevention.
And it’s a game changer. After all, who wants to feel all the icky symptoms of a UTI — burning while peeing; the constant, frequent need to pee; pelvic pain — before reaching for a pill? I’d much rather avoid the pain altogether and be proactive in prevention.
My chronic UTIs got to the point where they were so severe and emotionally frustrating that I actually stopped wanting to have sex. Feeling healthy was more important to me than getting some.
I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did ever again.
And statistics show I’m not alone. More than half of U.S. women will experience a UTI in their lifetime and UTIs account for 8.6 million visits to health care providers per year. But somehow, suffering from a UTI felt extremely lonely.
Almost three years ago, I finally found a treatment plan that worked for me. Instead of consulting my gynecologist — whose hopeless advice was basically “deal with it” (and come here and pay a co-pay every time you have a UTI, which was literally weekly), I sought the help of a urologist.
The urologist put me on 100 milligrams of Macrobid. I pop a pill after every sexual encounter and I haven’t gotten a UTI since.
While I’m grateful to have found something that worked for my body, I couldn’t help but feel like 100 milligrams of Macrobid from the urologist was a secret. Who goes to a urologist?
Most women probably bring the issue up to their gynecologist and if gynecologists don’t have the tools to help us, then we’re just what? Screwed? It felt like yet another hoop women have to jump through in order to prioritize their sexual health.
I sang the praises of my urologist’s treatment plan online; I wanted everyone to know, This worked for me and it could work for you!
I’ll always be thankful to that initial treatment plan for turning my sex life and sexual health around, but now that I’ve found Uqora, I’m even more excited.
Along with being the first UTI prevention system, Uqora is also the first time I’ve ever seen UTI medication actually marketed. Especially online. (I found it from an Instagram ad!) It’s important that women with chronic UTIs see their health issues reflected online and in the media. We should never feel alone when it comes to our health, which is why I’ve always been transparent about my UTI struggles online.
So, now that I’ve told you about my sexual history and aggrandized what Uqora is doing for UTI-sufferers, you might be wondering how this system works. Check it out below.
Step 1: Target
Commonly, UTIs start in the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) then, if they exacerbate, they can travel to the kidneys, where the infection becomes more serious. Women are more prone than men to get UTIs (go figure) and these tricky little infections can be caused by everything from the use of tampons and spermicides to wiping back to front to wearing a thong to having sex.
For me, my UTIs have always been activated by sex.
Uqora is a three-part system that targets and prevents infections. The first portion of their system is called Target and it’s a packet of powder that’s to be mixed with water after activities that cause UTIs. For me, this means after sexual intercourse, but for you, it may mean after traveling or working out. It tastes like lemonade (literally) and works by flushing bacteria out of the urinary tract when you’re most at risk.
I also recommend peeing after drinking as an extra precaution.
Step 2: Control
Uqora Control is a once-daily pill that bolsters your vagina’s biofilm to prevent old bacteria from causing new infections.
While E. coli is the most common cause of UTIs, a recurrence of UTI can happen when the vaginal bacteria Garnerella vaginalis comes in contact with E. coli.
Bacteria from the previous UTI actually camp out in the vagina, thanks to the biofilm — the community of microorganisms in the hoo-ha. The combo of residual E. coli and Garnerella vaginalis causes another UTI, seemingly out of the blue.
Control keeps your biofilm healthy and prevents those seemingly out-of-nowhere UTIs.
Step 3: Promote
UTI prevention wouldn’t be possible without the healthiest possible vaginal microbiome. Uqora Promote is also a once-daily probiotic pill that balances the vagina’s pH and restores the microbiome to optimal health. After all, imbalances in the vaginal microbiome can increase your risk of infection.
Promote combines two specific strains of vaginal bacteria clinically shown to restore and maintain the microbiome. I take both of these once-daily pills with my morning vitamins and then I don’t think about UTIs for the rest of the day. (Until I get mine and have a glass of Target!)
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Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer and social media consultant who specializes in health and wellness content. Her words have appeared in Seventeen, Life & Style, Darling Magazine, and more. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton and writing a memoir.