Mar 10 2019

Probiotics show promise in the prevention and treatment of UTIs

Published by at 12:53 pm under Personal Care,probiotic supplements

Probiotics show promise in the prevention and treatment of UTIs.*
A healthy microbiome goes a long way in UTI prevention.*

What are UTIs?

If you have ever had a Urinary Tract Infection, (UTIs), I don’t need to explain what it is. They are not something easily forgotten. But for those of you lucky enough not to know what they are, they are bacterial infections that affect the urinary tract causing inflammation and a lot of discomfort. They cause painful urination, the constant urge to urinate with little relief, abnormal colored urine, and a possibly foul or strong smell. If left untreated, symptoms can lead to lower back pain, puss or blood in the urine, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting, and even brain confusion particularly in the elderly. Bacterial infections of the bladder or ureters are commonly known as cystitis. Other specific UTIs include urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) and pyelonephritis (inflammation of the pelvis and parenchyma of the kidney) and can be more serious. 1*

What causes UTIs?

UTIs are most common in women, but men can get them also. Most UTI pathogens  come from the colon, which is the end of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract), but they can also be caused by pathogens from the vagina. They travel along the continuous mucosal pathway in the urinary tract, to the bladder and then along the ureters to the kidneys. Lactobacillus organisms which are prominent in the vagina of healthy women are known to prevent these pathogens from entering the urinary tract.  “…Most UTIs (more than 80%) are caused by a single bacterial species, the Gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli)…”  E. coli bacteria strains are resident flora of the intestine  known to live harmoniously in small numbers within the GI tract. But, when the environment is conducive for these organisms to overgrow, they can become “opportunistic pathogens”. By adhering to the mucosa lining of the urethra opening, the bladder and  kidney, the bacteria multiply and colonize, leading to infection.1*

Who is at risk? If you have the following, you may be at risk:  

  • Have had UTIs in the past
  • Had a UTI before the age of 15
  • Have a mother with a history of UTIs
  • Have frequent sexual intercourse or changing sexual partners
  • Don’t empty the bladder or wait too long to urinate. This can cause the bladder muscle to weaken and lead to incontinence and obstruction of urine flow.
  • Use contraceptives (oral contraceptive pill, condoms, diaphragm or spermicides).
  • Are pregnant or post menopausal (the reduction in estrogen levels affects the vaginal flora by reducing the numbers of lactobacilli.
  • Been on recurrent doses of antibiotics, corticosteroids or immunosuppressants
  • Catheterization, especially in elderly patients

Are they dangerous?

UTIs are not dangerous if dealt with appropriately. But if left untreated, they are extremely dangerous as they can lead to an acute or chronic kidney infection (called pyelonephritis) which can lead to permanent kidney damage. In pregnant women, they can result in delivering low birth weight or premature infants. When the infection works its way up to the kidneys, it can also result in sepsis, which is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. Men can experience urethral narrowing from recurrent urethritis.(1,2,3)*

What is the treatment?

For years, the treatment of uncomplicated UTIs involves a short term course of antibiotics, (preferably based on the bacteria present as seen in the patient’s urinalysis). Antibiotics are very effective, but there is growing concern that their frequent use is leading to antibiotic resistance. In many cases, if not treated fully, UTIs can reoccur, especially in older people. As we know, repeated antibiotic use can also damage the beneficial bacteria , causing unhealthy bacteria to overgrow, resulting in GI problems, Candida overgrowth, and other issues related to an unhealthy microbiome.1*

Repeated infections (more than three in one year) are known as recurrent UTIs (RUTIs). The treatment for a RUTI involves health advice and long term low dose antibiotics to prevent bacteria colonizing in the urinary tract. Unless changes are made and the factors that predispose one to them are removed, UTIs can reoccur. 1*

It’s been discovered that blocking bacteria from adhering to the mucosa lining is key in the management and prevention of UTIs. The good news is probiotic interventions in managing UTIs is showing great promise in this area and is  supported by clinical evidence for a number of specific strains. .  “…A. Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus were shown in vitro to inhibit the adherence of E. coli to the GI tract wall by inducing the production of mucin (a sticky substance coating the epithelial cells known to inhibit the adhesion of pathogens…” An in vitro study at Reading University also showed  the anti-bacterial benefits of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum in inhibiting E. coli growth. (1,,3,4,5)*

A “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”  showed taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri together orally was able to recover vaginal counts of Lactobacillus species following infection and antibiotic treatment by 96% compared to 53% in controls. The connection between the loss of  Lactobacillus, which is the normal genital microbiota,  and an increased incidence of UTIs, suggests that replenishing this bacteria is essential in keeping bacteria from adhering to the mucosa lining. “…Lactobacilli keep vaginal pH low and acidic, which prevents UTI-causing E. coli from spreading from your digestive tract to your vagina and urethra….” (1,,3,4,5,7)*

Drinking Cranberry juice, which has been an age old remedy as well, works similarly in that it has anti-adhesion properties. 1*

To prevent UTIs:

  • Keep your microbiome healthy and strong with a daily dose of Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™
  • Wash before and after intercourse and urinate immediately after to eliminate any unfriendly bacteria being introduced.
  • Drink 3 liters of water a day during an acute attack and 2-3 liters thereafter (to help flush the bacteria from the bladder)
  • Keep the genital area clean and wipe from front to back
  • Don’t retain urine for long periods of time
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Avoid tight fitting pants and shower right after work outs
  • Avoid perfumed soaps and vaginal deodorants(2,3)*

 

 

Bacteria are found all over our body. Keeping the friendly to unfriendly ratio in check will determine your immediate and long term health.

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

References:

  1. https://www.bio-kult.com/userfiles/file/natalie_lamb_uti_article_lowres_mar12.pdf
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21901556
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21498386
  5. https://www.womenshealthcaresolutions.com/assets/pdf/Augmentation_of_Antimicrobial_Metronidazole_Therapy_of_Bacterial_Vaginosis_with_Oral_Probiotic.pdf
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16389539
  7. https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/how-to-prevent-urinary-tract-infections

 

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