Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common bacterial infections in the US. They are especially common in women and also tend to reoccur, according to Medical News Today. In 2014, Jenna Ryan had eight UTIs and described the experience as an “awful cycle.” “After repeatedly being told that there was little I could do besides, peeing after sex or trying cranberry [juice]—I was inspired to create Uqora. My partner Spencer, a biochemist, was inspired too,” says Jenna.
There isn’t a cure for UTIs (they are treated with antibiotics). However, any time you take antibiotics, they can cause side effects such as rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections. “With my refusal to rely on daily antibiotics, Spencer and I teamed up to build Uqora in collaboration with physicians and urologists,” says Jenna. Uqora specializes in UTI relief products, UTI education, and proactive urinary tract health supplements. “When I started to understand the extent of the issue, that UTIs are the second most common infection in the US, I felt super motivated to start building this company with Spencer—the company that I’d wished had been there for me.”
In addition to tackling urinary health in a new way, Jenna is also hoping to lessen the stigma associated with UTIs through education and community. “Along with our highly reviewed products, we offer resources to empower everyone on their journey with urinary health,” says Jenna.
“Our UTI Learning Center holds research-backed articles contributed by doctors and specialists covering urinary health topics that are otherwise hard to find. The Uqora Collective, our private Facebook group with 17,000 members, is a safe place for Uqora customers (and non-customers!) to connect, share their UTI stories, and most importantly, know they are not alone on their journey.”
This aspect of Uqora has been the most rewarding for Jenna. With hundreds of heart-to-hearts on a daily basis with people in the community, she’s helping people with their urinary health, which she says is “addicting, really motivating” and essentially, “why we do what we do.”
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to UTIs. For those that deal with recurrent UTIs, it’s very likely you’ve heard the same advice repeatedly “wipe front to back, pee after sex, try cranberry juice.” That situation can feel frustrating and demoralizing when you are doing all of those things already. UTIs are often misunderstood, which is why a core value of Uqora is providing empathy and understanding to its customers — because we’ve been there.
“I knew my healthcare practitioners were motivated to help me break the cycle, but I felt like I was just being met with the same options. I took all the recommended steps but was still stuck. It was difficult to find good information and guidance.”
Fast forward to the present day, and Uqora is now helping more than 200,000 people with its collection of proactive urinary tract health supplements, UTI relief products, and UTI education:
- The Complete System is a proactive approach to urinary tract health that includes three products that tackle urinary tract health from a different angle. Target flushes your urinary tract keeping you clear when you need it most, Control cleanses biofilm and strengthens the bladder wall, and Promote supplies good lactobacillus bacteria to keep your vagina balanced.
- The UTI Emergency Kit includes test strips to find out if you have a UTI, UTI infection control to slow the infection until you get to a doctor and UTI pain relief.
In addition, Uqora has a UTI Learning Center on its website with UTI information and education written by doctors and other urinary health experts.
Jenna has come a long way since first launching Uqora in 2017. But getting to this point wasn’t always easy. She faced many challenges, especially as a female entrepreneur. “For so long, the message was that women in business should just be more like men in professional settings,” says Jenna. “I’ve definitely felt pressure to play a certain role and often have to check myself on what feels authentic to me versus imposed or projected.”
That way of thinking is slowly changing, but it can still be difficult for women wanting to start a company. Jenna’s advice? “Ask a lot of questions. So many questions! And make an effort to ask earnest, open-ended, genuinely curious questions—not leading questions to confirm a truth you’ve already subscribed to,” she says. It’s not always natural for Jenna to do this as she can be quick to jump to solutions due to her expedient nature, but she’s seen firsthand how amazing it is to learn by just pressing yourself—and employees—to ask one or two more questions than you think necessary.
This article was created by BlogHer for Uqora.