The stomach and its acid secretion may seemingly be unrelated to bladder health but as a matter of fact, stomach acid plays an important role in overall health – as a first line of defense for our immune system, in protein digestion and nutrient absorption.
Many may think of stomach acid in relation to heartburn/GERD, which affects up to 27 % of adults  and has risen recent years. As a result, antacids are the 7th most popular personal care product in the US alone, with sales of many million dollars .
However, the symptoms for low and high stomach acid are very similar. While high stomach acid can definitely be very irritating, low stomach acid may have more far reaching consequences.
Pharmacies usually sell ‘cystitis relief’ products designed to serve as a first aid for urinary tract infections. These preparations are designed to alkalize the urine.
Moreover, flushing through increased fluid intake is usually recommended.
I have previously recommended doing this as it is the common advice for cystitis relief before taking antibiotics.
Some people may well have success with this approach but is it scientifically validated?
When speaking about urinary tract infections, we usually speak about bacterial infections. Fungi (a.k.a yeasts or mold) are different organisms from bacteria and they can cause infections such as thrush in some parts of the body. Fungal infections in the vagina for example are a well-known condition. But can there also be fungal infections in the urinary tract?
Last week I had a look at how hormones affect the urinary tract. Changes in the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone and even the ‘male’ hormone testosterone appear to affect urinary tract symptoms.
Oral contraception affects hormone levels in the body and may therefore also affect urinary tract symptoms.
Other contraception may not affect hormones but may have an impact on the urinary tract in other ways.
Today I would like to take a look at what we know about different forms of contraception and bladder health.
Today I’d like to take a closer look at the role of hormones on bladder health. Hormones have been known for a while to play a role in lower urinary tract symptoms such as UTIs, interstitial cystitis and stress incontinence. Hormones may be the reason why women generally seem to be more prone to bladder problems than men and also why some symptoms may get worse at certain times of the month.
Most of us are aware of the dangers of food poisoning, especially from raw meat. But what if other infections in the body could also be transmitted via food? Well’ research shows that this is unfortunately often the case . Conventionally raised chicken meat could harbor pathogenic E. Coli, the most prevalent bacteria to cause urinary tract infections.
From the meat, these pathogens could pass over to humans and cause infections.
A prior history of urinary tract infections is considered to be a significant risk factor for developing new infections in the future. But why does a history of UTIs leave us more prone to future infections?
New research shows that pathogenic E. Coli can leave an imprint on the bladder lining, making it easier for future infections to take hold.
Researchers have identified a common vaginal bacterium that may trigger UTIs.
This could explain why recurring episodes of UTIs are often triggered by sexual intercourse.
The bacterium called Gardnerella vaginalis may not only be responsible for triggering UTIs, it may also be a contributor to more serious kidney infections.
There is new(ish) evidence emerging that recurrent UTIs, also known as chronic cystitis, are not always caused by a reinfection with a new pathogen but rather can be a relapse of the same pathogen.
It turns out that pathogenic bacteria have the ability to invade the cells of the bladder and live there in a dormant sleep-like state.
This is called an ‘intracellular bacterial community’.
In this state, the bacteria remain undetected by standard urine testing and unaffected by antibiotic treatment. They also remain undetected by our own immune system.
Now and again they can leave the cells, causing a relapse of the urinary tract infection.
For anyone who has read my own story, you may remember that repeated courses of antibiotics for chronic UTIs kicked off my interstitial cystitis a few years ago. Can antibiotics cause interstitial cystitis and chronic UTIs? For me, they have definitely played a big role.
This question has been at the back of my mind for a while and today I would like to take a look at some of the scientific evidence to answer this question.