By Marisa Belger
The symptoms are unnervingly familiar—a frequent urge to urinate, burning while urinating, achy lower back and abdomen. Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are the second-most-common infection in the United States. This makes the chances of you having had one or more extraordinarily high. If you’ve been part of the 60 percent of women who have suffered through a UTI, you know that they are incredibly disruptive and painful. The one definitive treatment option is a round of antibiotics, which may have lasting side effects, including compromised gut flora, the healthy bacteria that lives in your digestive tract.
Until very recently the options for preventing UTIs were limited. The most widely known methods, cranberry juice and herbal extracts, have not held up in clinical trials, and preventative antibiotic use is not a sustainable option. Enter Uqora. After experiencing eight UTIs in 2014, CEO Jenna Ryan set out to find a solution. Teaming up with her partner Spencer Gordon, a molecular biologist, as well as a group of doctors, she founded Uqora, “the UTI prevention company.”
The company offers three products designed to help prevent the infections. Each is composed entirely of naturally occurring compounds: Target, developed to be used after activities that could lead to a UTI (yes, sex, as well as camping or sports), has, among others, the hero ingredient d-mannose, a simple sugar that is quickly filtered through the kidneys into the bladder where it helps flush E. coli, the bacteria that causes most UTIs, through the urinary tract.
Uqora’s follow up to Target is Control, a daily supplement designed for the 40 percent of women who can’t isolate the cause of their recurring UTIs. Ryan attributes these infections, which seem to come out of nowhere, to the biofilm, a sheath of bacteria that can serve as a hiding place for UTI-specific bacteria. This is why, she explains, after you’ve had one UTI, you are likely to get another. Wrapping up the trifecta is Promote, a daily product created to stabilize imbalances in the vaginal microbiome.
“Struggling with UTIs is isolating—it’s all you think about, and it often feels like it’s your fault. A lot of the conversation feels incriminating,” says Ryan, who hasn’t had a UTI since 2016. As the primary player in the UTI prevention space, Uqora offers a viable, powerful solution—customer reviews online are glowing—while pulling a historically under-discussed, and often taboo topic out of dark corners. uqora.com