Probiotics and Urination

Written by: Kari Raman, PharmD, RPh
Published September 25, 2023

As a pharmacist, I often field questions about probiotics, and recently, I had a question that I hadn’t really thought about before – do probiotics make you pee more. I had to think about this one a bit, and since I hadn’t ever dug into the scientific research on this topic I went ahead and spent some time trying to understand if there are any legitimate answers.

In this article, I’ll also talk about probiotics and overall bladder health and UTIs, where there is some good research and some probiotics that have some good science behind them and their benefits.

Alright, so let’s go for it.

Do probiotics make you pee more?

Based on current scientific understanding, there is no direct evidence suggesting that probiotics directly increase urine output or frequency. I looked through Google Scholar, which has a tremendous number of research papers published on probiotics, and couldn’t find a single one that showed probiotics making anyone pee more. 

So what’s going on? Why would it seem like you have to go more when you start taking probiotics? 

First of all, if you notice a major change in your urination patterns you should talk to your doctor. This could be a sign of a serious health condition, and you should get it checked out by a healthcare provider.

Ok, now that we are done with that, let’s talk about what might actually be happening

Possible Reasons for Increased Urination with Probiotic Use

  • Increased Water Intake: One of the most straightforward reasons someone might pee more when taking probiotics is due to increased water consumption. If you’re drinking more water to swallow the probiotic pill, especially if it’s sizable or if you’re taking multiple supplements at once, this extra fluid intake could lead to more frequent trips to the bathroom.
  • Other Ingredients in the Probiotic Supplement: Not all probiotic supplements are pure cultures of beneficial bacteria or yeast. Some might contain other ingredients, additives, or excipients that might have diuretic effects or influence urine output. It’s always a good practice to read labels and understand what you’re ingesting. You can always ask your local pharmacist about what the other ingredients are! We may know if any of them cause you to pee more.
  • Coincidental Changes in Diet or Habits: If you’ve recently started a health regimen that includes probiotics, you might have also made other changes in your lifestyle or diet that can influence urination. Maybe you are eating more high-water, healthy veggies or drinking smoothies, for example, and that’s making you pee more.
  • Other health issue: Maybe the health problem you are trying to treat with probiotics has other symptoms, including the need to pee more. Again, talk to your doctor!!
  • Detoxification: Some health practitioners – and a ton of people on the internet – suggest that as probiotics aid in improving gut health, the body might go through a “detoxification” process. This could lead to increased urination as the body eliminates waste products. However, I don’t really buy this concept, I don’t think that you’d really see any particular detoxification effects that would somehow make you pee more if you take probiotics. 

Everyone is different, and it’s not totally impossible that a particular probiotic may make a person increase the amount they urinate, but it seems pretty unlikely given that there are thousands of studies on them with probably close to a million test subjects, and this side effect hasn’t been reported. 

Can Probiotics Change Your Urine Color?

I haven’t seen any research that suggests that probiotics can directly change the color of your pee. However, people who have diarrhea or who are constipated may be dehydrated, So if a probiotic supplement changes how food flows through your body it may change how much water your intestines absorb you may see a change in urine color or the intensity of your urine. If you notice a major change in your urine’s color after starting a supplement for your microbiome, check the ingredients – there could be something else in there causing this change. And a change in color could be a sign of a real health problem, so talk to your doctor if this happens to you. 

Probiotics and UTI prevention

Now, this is a place where we are starting to see some medical research. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are infections that occur anywhere along the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra. They are more common in women than men and can be caused by a variety of pathogens, most commonly E. coli bacteria. And they sure can make it seem like you have to pee a lot!

Can Probiotics Treat UTIs

Can they treat UTIs? That’s not what I’d recommend – see your doctor to get a better treatment option – real medication. However, probiotics may be a great way to try to help reduce the risk of UTIs for otherwise healthy people. 

Here’s how:

Balancing the vaginal microbiome: For women, Lactobacillus species (often found in over the counter supplements) might play a role in maintaining a balanced vaginal microbiome. A healthy balance may reduce the risk of harmful bacteria migrating from the rectal area to the urethra and causing infections.

Competitive inhibition: By colonizing the urethra and bladder with beneficial bacteria, it’s possible that there’s less room for pathogenic bacteria to establish and cause infection.

Enhancing immune function: Some probiotics might stimulate the immune system, thereby helping the body resist infections more effectively.

Production of antimicrobial substances: Some probiotics produce substances that can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

However, it’s important to note that while these mechanisms are plausible, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of probiotics in preventing UTIs. And, as always, individual experiences with probiotics will vary.

How to take probiotics for urinary health?

If you’re considering probiotics for urinary health, always follow your doctor’s recommendations. General dosage instructions can be found on supplement packaging, but it’s essential to discuss this with a healthcare professional, especially if you have a history of UTIs or other urinary conditions. Of course, you can always ask your pharmacist when you pick up your UTI medication. (But make sure you understand how to take them when you are on antibiotics – “pro” biotics and “anti” biotics shouldn’t be taken at the same time.)

Can you take probiotics daily for urinary health?

Yes, probiotics can generally be consumed daily through supplements or probiotic-rich foods. However, remember to consult your doctor, especially if you’re considering them for urinary health. It’s vital to ensure they’re right for you and won’t interfere with any other treatments or conditions you may have. One that may be great for women looking for vaginal and urinary tract health is Good Girl Probiotics, which I reviewed. It’s got a blend of probiotics, some of which have some serious research behind them. And I’m pretty sure they won’t make you have to urinate more. 

What are Probiotics?

So, the question of what probiotics are – and how they can help improve health – is a way more common question that I get at the pharmacy. Well, allow me to shed some light on this subject.

Probiotics are live microorganisms, commonly recognized as “good bacteria.” Consuming these in the right quantities may bestow various health advantages to the individual. Their presence can be identified in a myriad of foods and supplements, designed to support the body’s inherent gut flora. Apart from bacteria, some probiotics are, in fact, yeasts. (I even wrote an entire article about probiotics and sourdough bread, which is also made with yeast). 

How Do They Function?

The human gut houses trillions of bacterial residents and other entities such as yeasts. Collectively, this diverse community is called the microbiome. However, certain external influences like antibiotics, emotional stress, or an unbalanced diet can occasionally tip the scales, causing an imbalance in the species in your gut. This is a big place where probiotics step in. Incorporating them through supplements or specific foods may aid in reinstating this microbial equilibrium, thereby populating the body with favorable bacteria.

Potential Advantages of Probiotics

There is still a log of research going on, but there is starting to be some evidence that when taken as a supplement, some people may see some health benefits.

For starters, probiotics may be instrumental in alleviating conditions like antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Easy to find brands, such as Florastor and Culturelle, come to mind for this, though there’s a plethora of other options that warrant attention. They might also be effective in pacifying symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Moreover, some intriguing research hints that they could play a pivotal role in amplifying the immune system. This is achieved by stimulating the genesis of natural antibodies within the body. We still need to see some more research for me to get really excited about this, though. 

For those with cardiovascular concerns, certain ones might offer a glimmer of hope. They have the potential to curb LDL (the undesirable cholesterol) levels and regulate blood pressure, thus promoting cardiac wellness.

Urination and Probiotics – My Conclusion

While probiotics have promising potential in many health areas and may help your body a number of things, I haven’t seen anything that would make me think that probiotics would make you have to pee a lot. But, it does seem that they may be able to help people with recurring UTI problems. 

If you’re considering probiotics for urinary health or have noticed changes in urination patterns, always seek guidance from a healthcare professional.

Pharmacist Kari Raman

I’m Kari Raman PharmD, RPh, and I am a licensed, practicing pharmacist. I hold a Doctorate in Pharmacy from The University of the Pacific, and I’ve served patients in retail, compounding and hospital pharmacies.

Probiotics are confusing!

One of the most common questions I get asked by patients is about probiotics. And the truth is, probiotics are not as well understood by the healthcare community as they should be.

So I’ve been reading a lot of probiotic clinical trials, and sharing what I’m learning here.

I hope Pharmacist Probiotics helps you find out if there is a type of probiotic that works for you!