Hoboken, NJ—A new study has found a new option for those who suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to a press release from Horphag Research. It found that the French maritime pine bark extract Pycnogenol was effective at reducing the number of urinary tract infection episodes, increasing the number of infection- and symptom-free patients, and decreasing oxidative stress in patients with UTIs.
Recurrent UTIs are the result of a bacterial infection, and are defined as three episodes in the previous year or two episodes in the last six months. About 25-30% of women have at least one episode of recurrent UTIs, and around 12% of men will experience UTIs in their lifetime.
Similar to UTIs, interstitial cystitis is a painful and often chronic disorder of the bladder, typically indicated by serious sensory lower urinary tract symptoms and pelvic pain, but without bacterial occurrence. It is estimated to impact between 3 and 6% of women.
The open pilot registry study included 64 participants between the ages of 35 and 41, who had reported at least three symptomatic UTIs in the past year, at least two UTIs in the past six months, or symptoms of urinary tract infections without bacterial occurrence in the urinalysis. They were split into three groups: a control group, a Pycnogenol group, and a cranberry group. Each group followed a standard management routine—consisting of accurate hygiene, improved bladder care, hydration, and avoiding too much caffeine, spices, and alcohol—and was tested for 60 days. The Pycnogenol group additionally supplemented with 150mg of Pycnogenol daily; the cranberry group supplemented with 400mg of dried cranberry extract daily.
After 60 days, the Pycnogenol group’s results were:
- 62% reduction in the number of urinary tract infection/interstitial cystitis episodes (vs. 45% reduction in the cranberry group and 29% reduction in the control group)
- 100% of participants showed infection-free urine (vs. 35% of participants in the cranberry group and 36% of participants in the control group. At study start, 40-50% of the patients showed infection-free urine.)
- 91% of participants were symptom-free (vs. 80% of participants in the cranberry group and 82% of participants in the control group)
- 11% decrease in oxidative stress (vs. 4% decrease in the cranberry group and 2% decrease in the control group)
Additionally, daily supplementation with Pycnogenol was found to reduce the number of episodes and decrease oxidative stress in patients with interstitial cystitis. Similar to UTIs, interstitial cystitis is a painful and often chronic disorder of the bladder, typically indicated by serious sensory lower urinary tract symptoms and pelvic pain, but without bacterial occurrence. It is estimated to impact between 3 and 6% of women.
“Patients who suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections often experience painful, disruptive symptoms including pain, burning, and itching in the pelvic area, and a constant need to go to the bathroom,” explained Steven Lamm, M.D., researcher and internist, in the press release. “This study shows Pycnogenol, a natural ingredient, may reduce those symptoms. It is important that we reduce the use of antibiotics in the management of recurrent urinary tract disorders. This study presents a potential natural alternative to antibiotic use. There are important findings here that require further research.