D-Mannose is even more effective for bladder infections than cranberry juice and is what I most strongly recommend. Mannose is a natural sugar (not the kind that causes symptoms or yeast overgrowth) that is excreted promptly into the urine. Unfortunately for the E. coli bacteria, the "fingers" that stick to the bladder wall stick to the D-mannose even better. When you ingest a large amount of D-mannose, it spills into the urine, coating all the E. coli's little "sticky fingers" so that the E. coli are literally washed away with the next urination.13-15
The nice thing about the natural approach, as opposed to antibiotics, is that cranberries and D-mannose do not kill healthy bacteria, and therefore do not disturb the normal balance of bacteria in the bowel. In addition, D-mannose is absorbed in the upper gut before it gets to the friendly E. coli that are normally present in the colon. Because of this, it helps clear the bladder without causing any other problems.
D-Mannose is quite safe, even for long-term use, although most people need it for only a few days. People who have frequent recurrent bladder infections may, however, choose to take it every day to suppress the infections. The usual dose of D-mannose is 1/2-1 teaspoon every two to three waking hours to treat an acute bladder infection or 1/2-1 teaspoon a day to prevent chronic bladder infections. It is best taken dissolved in water. If you get bladder infections associated with sexual intercourse, you can take a teaspoon of D-mannose one hour before and/or just after intercourse to prevent an infection.
13Toyota S, Fukushi Y, Katoh S, Orikasa S, Suzuki Y . [Anti-bacterial defense mechanism of the urinary bladder. Role of mannose in urine]. [Article in Japanese]Nippon Hinyokika Gakkai Zasshi 1989 Dec;80(12):1816-23 ;
14Effect of D-mannose and D-glucose on Escherichia coli bacteriuria in rats, Urol Res 11(2):97-102, 1983.
15Mannose-sensitive adherence of Escherichia coli to epithelial cells from women with recurrent urinary tract infections, J Urol 131(5):906-910, May 1984.