Andrea Veresova – Meet Uqora, the product that wants to stop you from getting all those UTIs
Have you ever experienced the searing agony of a UTI? Then you know you’d do almost anything to avoid getting another one. And now — finally — there looks to be an easy, effective way to do that without having to take antibiotics.
A new startup called Uqora is aiming to disrupt UTIs as we know them. And, ugh, do we know them. You do something fun, like have a weekend of sex with your new fling, and boom! You wake up Monday morning with a fiery pain in your nether regions. Then you’ve got to take time out of work to go to the doctor to get antibiotics.
It happens all the time. One in two women gets a UTI in their life, and one in five suffer from recurring infections. They cause more visits to the doctor each year than every affliction but the common cold — think of all the little cups of pee we ladies have filled up.
All this yet it’s not widely talked about, and the focus by the medical establishment has always been on treating infections once they’ve already occurred, not on preventing them from happening in the first place.
For the patients who suffer from chronic infections, this can mean a pretty much endless course of antibiotics, which can leave you vulnerable to yeast infections and all kinds of other unpleasantness. That’s the situation that Uqora CEO Jenna Ryan found herself in back in 2014, when she had eight UTIs in a single year.
Frustrated with her options, she and her partner Spencer Gordon (who fortunately had studied Molecular Biology at University of California, Berkeley) began looking for a more sustainable solution. They found sound data that there were supplements that could work, but they couldn’t find a product that was easily available to your average consumer. So they decided to create one.
Enter Uqora, which officially launched Wednesday. It’s a powder that you mix with water and drink whenever you think you could be at risk for a UTI — after sex, a prolonged period of exercise, etc. Ryan promises it’s palatable, saying it tastes kind of like Crystal Light.
You only need to take the supplement either right before or soon after you feel like you could have been exposed to a UTI, which means not having to be on medicine constantly. It will run you $35 for a pack of 10 doses, or you can get a 15 percent discount with a subscription. You can also buy a three-pack for $10, if you’re not ready to commit to a full box.
Uqora’s main ingredient is d-mannose, a sugar that works by binding with the bacteria that can cause UTIs. Then when you pee, the bacteria gets swept out with the urine instead of making a home in your bladder and torturing you.
You have long been able to buy and take d-mannose on it’s own, but Uqora also contains a natural diuretic, so the flushing takes place faster, as well as several vitamins that are meant to boost your defenses. The company has seen a lot of success in beta testing and has many customers who’ve tried it and stayed with it.
The one important thing to note is that Uqora is only effective at combating infections caused by E.coli (the bacteria that’s responsible for the vast majority of UTIs). So it’s important to see your doctor to make sure your infections are stemming from E.coli and not some other invader. Uqora is also only intended to help prevent infections, not as a cure for existing ones.
It sounds almost too good to be true, but there is science to back it up. Uqora is backed by a board of three doctors who’ve vetted the research and believe in the products effectiveness. While supplements are not regulated by the FDA, it does classify all of Uqora’s ingredients as “Generally Recognized as Safe.”
Ryan said in an interview that she’s passionate about the product not only because it’s helped her but because it addresses such a huge issue in women’s health. A topic which is more at risk than ever with so many unknowns surrounding insurance reform. Without insurance, doctors visits and prescription costs can be financially devastating.
UTIs result in about 8.1 million visits a year to health care providers, and Ryan hopes her product can save a lot of women from the pain of having to go in the first place — not to mention getting to avoid the excruciating, kicking-and-screaming burn of the infection itself.