Urinary tract infections: can we prevent uropathogenic Escherichia coli infection with dietary intervention?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common causes of infections in women. Via the fecal-perineal-urethral route, uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) can cause ascending urinary tract infections, including cystitis and pyelonephritis. These infections re-occur within six months or they account for, at least, three episodes within a year of recurrent UTIs (rUTIs). Long term and continuous antibiotic treatment or prophylaxis should be considered as the last options in rUTIs. Conversely, updated European Association of Urology guidelines recommend non-antimicrobial approaches to prevent rUTIs. Accordingly, several studies reported the efficacy of number of natural molecules in inhibiting UPEC adhesion to bladder cells, restraining bacterial growth, as well as stimulating the host innate immune defenses, and protecting the bladder and the kidney mucosa. Therefore, we propose an "anti-UPEC" diet enriched of foods containing natural compounds that were proven effective against UPEC, such as D-mannose, cranberry extracts and medicinal plants. Being a valuable and safe clinical approach to reduce UTI recurrence and limiting the detrimental effects of long and continuous antibiotic prophylaxis, dietary interventions should be evaluated in future clinical trials.