The current gold-standard testing for UTIs involves culturing the bacteria present in a clean-catch midstream urine sample (MSU) in a lab dish.
On top of that, a dipstick test is often used to indicate the presence of infection markers in urine.
The guidelines for these testing methods have been established in the 1950s. With the discovery of the urinary microbiome, inadequacies of this method have come to light.
It turns out that urine is in fact not sterile and that many microbial species cannot be cultured in a lab.
Therefore, current testing for UTIs fails patients by missing infections.
Probiotics are ‘live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’ . Historically, probiotics have lacked credibility in the orthodox medical community but with recent scientific advances in the field of the human microbiome the therapeutic potential of different probiotic strains has been recognized.
In my last two posts I have looked into the urinary microbiome and how an imbalance of microbes in the bladder can predispose us to bladder conditions such as urinary tract infections, interstitial cystitis, overactive bladder and chronic pelvic pain.
Today I would like to take a look at several probiotic strains that have been studied for bladder- and genital health.
In last week’s post I talked about the urinary microbiota – the bacterial communities that have recently been discovered to be present in the urinary tract.
We know now that microbes that live in and on our bodies play a crucial role in health and illness. There are friendly and pathogenic microbes (bacteria, fungi etc.) plus opportunistic microbes that can become pathogenic when left unchecked.
When the delicate balance of good vs bad microbes is disturbed we become prone to an array of health conditions and infections. This is called a ‘dysbiosis’.
The human bladder and urine have long been considered to be sterile. Emerging evidence challenges this paradigm.
Recent advances in gene sequencing have made it possible to look at the human microbiome (the collective bacteria that live in and on our bodies) and more and more studies are showing an important link between the microbiome and our health.
Standard urine testing methods are limited in their ability to show the true bacterial composition of the urine and their main use is to show certain strains of bacteria that typically overgrow in urinary tract infections.
This week I’d like to outline a few hygiene concepts that have allowed me to never catch another UTI again.
If you suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) or interstitial cystitis you need to know about biofilm infections.
More and more studies have demonstrated that pathogenic bacteria can persist within the bladder tissue and serve as a ‘reservoir’ for recurrent urinary tract infections.
Bacteria and fungi can make so-called biofilms and hide under them. This protects the bacteria from being discovered by our immune system or from being killed by antibiotics. It also makes it harder to discover them in a urine culture.
In my last blog post I looked at the ‘bladder-back-connection’. ‘Fix your Back, Fix your Bladder’ is part 2, in which I’m going to look at potential causes for back problems that affect the bladder and possible solutions.
To recap on the last post, I explained how the nerves connecting the bladder to the brain pass through the spine and that an injury to the spine can lead to damage or compression of these nerves.
The result can be bladder issues such as UTIs and interstitial cystitis.
If you are suffering from chronic cystitis or interstitial cystitis and you also experience lower back pain – read on. Lower back problems can be at the root of bladder problems. I call this the bladder-back-connection. Seem a bit far-fetched? Let me explain…
Cranberry juice has long been considered to be one of the main natural remedies for bladder health. Can cranberry juice prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)?
When I first started having chronic infections I gulped down litres of the stuff. My GP told me to ‘Just drink some cranberry juice’ when I first started experiencing symptoms of interstitial cystitis after she just couldn’t find anything wrong with me!
At no point in time did the cranberry juice prevent my recurrent infections or helped me to clear my symptoms.
What is Cystitis?
Cystitis is the medical term for a condition also known as ‘urinary tract infection’ (UTI) or simply bladder infection. Cystitis is a very common problem, especially among women: it is estimated that over half the women in Britain will suffer from it at some point in their lifetime .
Cystitis is one of the most common causes for attending medical consultations and its prevalence is thought to increase with age. An estimated 10-15% of women aged over 60 years have frequent bouts of cystitis . Men and children can also be affected by cystitis but this is less common.