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?
Yoga is a type of mental and physical exercise that has been used in traditional Indian medicine since ancient times.
In recent years it has become more and more popular as a form of exercise and relaxation technique in the Western world.
Its use as a therapeutic intervention to accompany other forms of medicine has also grown in the West.
Today I would like to take a look at how yoga can be used as a therapy for chronic urologic conditions such as interstitial cystitis and chronic UTIs and chronic illness in general.
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.
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.
We typically associate incontinence with a lack of muscle tone of the pelvic floor or sometimes with bacterial infection. But what if the bladder microbiota and urinary incontinence are linked?
I have explored the role of the urinary microbiota in previous posts (here and here) and how an imbalance in microbes known as ‘dysbiosis’ can play a role in different bladder conditions. One of them is urgency incontinence.
It sounds weird but there is evidence suggesting that even incontinence can be related to the microbes living in our bladder.
This applies specifically to urgency urinary incontinence.
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’.
In my last post I looked at the GAG layer in the bladder and how damage to it can cause problems for the bladder lining, a.k.a the bladder urothelium.
When the bladder urothelium gets damaged it can lose its integrity and become ‘leaky’ or ‘hyper-permeable’. Molecules that shouldn’t normally leave the bladder can get into the space (‘interstitium’ – hence interstitial cystitis) between the layers of the tissue and into the blood.
Happy 2017, y’all! I hope this year will bring relief from all your bladder issues – keep on learning and searching! In today’s post I would like to address something that I personally have been messing around with in the past month. It is the connection between low metabolism and overactive bladder.
What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?
Overactive bladder (OAB) is not a condition as such but rather a group of urinary symptoms defined by a problem with bladder storage where the bladder muscle (detrusor) contracts too often or spontaneously and involuntarily. It often includes, and is therefore closely related to, incontinence.
There is a reported incidence of OAB ranging between 12-17% in Europe alone and a suggested 1 in 6 people is suffering from symptoms in the UK. The incidence of OAB increases with age but should not be accepted as a normal part of the ageing process.