Chronic UTI Sufferers Show Improvement With Probiotics
7 minute read
In the U.S alone, roughly 13 million women visit the doctor for urinary tract infections (UTI) symptoms. With approximately 60 percent of women experiencing at least one in their life, it is definitely more of a female affliction. Like women don’t have enough to worry about right? Throw in the pain and discomfort of UTIs and your social, work, and home life can be disrupted.
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Common UTI Symptoms
There are several symptoms to keep watch for, but since everybody is different, not everyone will have the same symptoms nor with the same severity. Noticing any of those listed below is a good sign to go get checked by your physician.
♦ constant urge to pee
♦ only peeing a little at a time
♦ burning sensation when you pee
♦ pelvic pressure or pain
♦ lower back pain
If you notice the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.
♦ blood in urine
♦ abdominal pain
♦ fevers and chills
How do you get a UTI?
Chronic UTIs are diagnosed when you have recurrent infections. The more severe forms coming from bacteria traveling up to your kidneys from the bladder.
The clinical definition of recurrent UTI is two or more infections within a six month period or three or more within twelve months. When this is the case it is recommended you consider what could be causing, and the most common culprits are sexual activity, diabetes, use of contraceptives, catheters, and an estrogen deficiency.
These essentially inoculate bacteria into the bladder, which provides a space to adhere to and colonization can begin. It is a short trip from the bladder to the rest of the urinary tract.
This can cause irritation to the urethra, which makes it more susceptible to infection.
Diabetics do not have strong immune systems, so they are more likely to develop an infection. If infection reaches the kidneys, there can be severe complications because of the reliance diabetics have on kidney function.
Contraceptives cause changes in hormone levels, and decreased estrogen can leave vaginal tissue without elasticity. It can become easily irritated and an easier target for bacteria.
Occurring in post-menopausal women, the lack of estrogen causes the same problems as contraceptives. Abrasions and infection are, therefore, more common at this age.
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Most visits to the doctor will result in a treatment plan of antibiotics to clear up the infection. However, it is not uncommon for infections to reappear even after antibiotic therapy. This is because over half of the cases are caused by the same bacterial strain because they have gradually evolved to become resistant to the current treatments.
The Role of Bacteria
Bacteria that live in our gut support a healthy immune system, so without them, our entire body is susceptible to infections. The costs of antibacterial therapy continue to rise and as stated, they do not always clear up the problem for good. Given all of these reasons, antibiotics are not really a good choice for fighting these recurrent infections.
So what are you supposed to do if antibiotics are out the window? The best way to figure out a solution is to understand how the infection develops in the first place.
The urinary tract is easier for outside particles to reach in females than in males. They are therefore prone to collecting bacteria, which can then colonize. Once this happens, inflammation of the area develops and so does the pain and discomfort.
Strains of E. coli are the most notorious for causing UTIs because they flourish in both the gut and urinary tracts. This explains the potential for recurring infections because the bacteria can migrate in between the two regions avoiding detection. The friendly bacteria present naturally in our guts should be allowed to flourish, and they can counteract the unfriendly visitors. The problem is that with our society being so overly reliant on antibiotics, we have killed off a lot of our resident strains.
The bacteria residing in the gut, urinary and vaginal areas are necessary for protection against infection. Reliance on antibiotics causes resistance, which in turn means invading bacteria cannot be stopped and our friendly helpful strains have been depleted. This is a dire situation for vaginal and urinary areas because bad bacteria will essentially be in charge and infections can develop quickly.
Good Bacteria versus Bad Bacteria
New studies are showing that the use of probiotics can help those with chronic UTIs. Our regular bacterial flora poses a great defense and keeps pathogens in check but with their dwindling numbers, they are not able to perform as well. Adding probiotics to the mix may be able to help.
The idea behind the research is that increased intake of probiotics, which are safe to take, will allow our internal flora to cultivate and grow. The more internal friendly strains we have, the better defense we have against invading pathogens and bacteria.
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Studies are still ongoing and nothing is confirmed, but the concept of using live microorganisms to support our immunity and fight infections is a valid one. This can not only help with conditions like chronic UTI but will benefit our overall health and well-being.
In the past, immune systems that have been compromised by diseases such as cancer and HIV have benefited from the re-introduction of host-supporting bacterial strains. This does not by any means prove a cure for anything, but it can definitely serve to boost our immune systems, which is a good thing.
What You Can Do
For chronic UTI sufferers, there are also a few things you can do yourself to help protect against them. A change in diet can be beneficial in that when it is probiotic-rich your inner ecosystem will thrive.
Studies prove that the typical Western diet caused a major shift in our internal system, deleting much-needed bacteria and causing a number of intestinal and urinary tract complications. Probiotic supplements or beverages, as well as cultured vegetables, are great additions to any diet.
Often considered an ‘old wives’ tale, drinking cranberry juice is actually a very effective prevention strategy. It has been proven that cranberry juice contains E. coli fighting agents and prevents the bacteria from sticking to the tissues of the urinary tract walls.
The Bottom Line
It could be as simple as a glass each morning. There is no need to suffer from the irritation of recurring UTIs and no need to get dosed up on medications. Simple additions to your diet will have you healthy in no time, inside and out.
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