Should you eat bananas for urinary tract infections? The bitter truth!

Should you eat bananas for urinary tract infections? The bitter truth!
December 6, 2018 2:33 PM

Can bananas help you get rid of urinary tract infections? There is a lot of misleading and controversial information about the topic on the Internet. Here is a detailed evidence-based post explaining why bananas may not be the best food to eat in a larger quantity if you have a urinary tract infection.

Contents

  1. What are urinary tract infections?
  2. Are bananas good for urinary tract infections?
  3. Should you avoid bananas altogether if you have a urinary tract infection?
  4. What to eat for urinary tract infections?
  5. How to treat urinary tract infections?
  6. The takeaway

What are urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are inflammatory diseases affecting any part of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, and kidneys.

The main symptoms of urinary tract infection include an uncomfortable burning sensation when you pee, back or abdominal pain, frequent urination, intense urge to pee, chills, fever, and cloudy, smelly or bloody urine.

This disease affects women more often because they have a shorter urethra and so the bacteria from the outside may penetrate the bladder and kidneys easier than in men.

According to the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), over 10.5 million Americans see their physicians because of urinary tract infections, and every year the disease causes economic losses of more than $ 6 billion (1).

As the primary cause of urinary tract infections is bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, Enterococcus faecalis, and Staphylococcus saprophyticus, the typical treatment includes antibiotics and hydration (drinking enough fluids to flush bacteria out of the bladder). It is therefore critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible and start an effective treatment.

The summary: Urinary tract infections affect millions of people every year. Because the primary cause of UTIs is a bacterial infection, the proper treatment includes antibiotics and other medicines. Eating bananas will not help you. Go and see your physician if you have any symptoms of urinary tract infection.

Are bananas good for urinary tract infections?

Bananas are full of healthy nutrients, especially vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and fiber.

One medium-sized banana contains 422 mg of potassium, 32 mg of magnesium, 26 mg of phosphorus, 2.6 g of dietary fiber and 8.8 mg of vitamin C (2).

Although these nutrients are essential for our health, they may harm you if you take them in excess while having a urinary tract infection.

Take potassium for example.

While it is necessary for heart health and may reduce the risk of kidney stones in older adults, some studies suggest that potassium may worsen some symptoms commonly found in urinary tract infections, such as dysuria (pain and burning sensation while urinating) or urge to urinate (3).

Another example is vitamin C.

Bananas are a relatively rich source of this vitamin, and some experts claim that vitamin Ccan be used to prevent recurring infections of the urinary tract.

Unfortunately, studies have shown no statistically significant effect of vitamin C on reducing the risk of recurring urinary tract infections (4).

Bananas also contain a lot of fiber, but experts have not investigated its effects on urinary tract infections yet.

Therefore, we can not recommend increased consumption of fiber in UTIs.

Zinc is another mineral that can be found in bananas.

Scientists investigated the role of zinc in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections in a study involving 200 infants with UTI (5).

Study authors divided the participants into two equal groups. One group received standard treatment, while the other group received standard therapy and some zinc sulfide syrup.

The study found that zinc accelerated the positive response to the treatment of urinary infections, but exacerbated abdominal pain.

Therefore, you should not take zinc supplements if you have a stomach ache.

And, as you already know, belly pain is one of the common symptoms of UTIs.

The summary: Bananas are rich in potassium, zinc, fiber, and vitamin C. Studies suggest that both potassium and zinc may aggravate some of the symptoms of urinary tract infections. Vitamin C and fiber do not have any measurable effects on the treatment and prevention of UTIs.

Should you avoid bananas altogether if you have a urinary tract infection?

Nutritionists consider bananas to be great and healthy food, and there is no reason to stop consuming them altogether.

If you eat one to two bananas every day, it will certainly not hurt you.

However, excessive consumption of bananas may damage your health and exacerbate the symptoms of urinary tract infections.

What to eat for urinary tract infections?

Diet alone can never beat urinary tract infections!

That's why bananas and other foods will not help you if you have an acute infection.

If you have urinary tract infection, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Drink plenty of fluids (mainly urological tea or other drinks recommended by your doctor).
  • Eat healthy unprocessed foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not eat more than 2 bananas a day.

How to treat urinary tract infections?

Go and see a licensed physician for proper and effective treatment of your health issues.

Some of the common treatment options for UTIs include:

  • antibiotics and other medicines to fight fever and inflammation
  • adequate hydration (drinking urological tea or other beverages)
  • sometimes you will have to stay in the hospital until you get better

Make sure you tell your doctor about any supplements and medical drugs you are taking!

The takeaway

Bananas are not an appropriate treatment for urinary tract infections. They contain a lot of potassium that can aggravate some symptoms of urinary tract inflammation and extend recovery time.

Fiber and vitamin C have no benefits in the treatment of urinary tract infections.

If you have a urinary tract infection, do not eat too many bananas.

It will not help you and may result in constipation or diabetes because bananas contain a lot of indigestible fiber and carbohydrates.

To be on the safe side, you should never eat more than one or two medium-sized bananas per day.

Ask your doctor for help if you have a urinary tract infection. 

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Physician
Article resources:

See numbered links in the post.

Image resources:

Pixabay.com

Published: December 6, 2018 2:33 PM
Next scheduled update: December 6, 2020 2:33 PM
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