UTIs are caused when harmful bacteria enter the urinary tract. Since the anal opening is very close to the urine outlet, bacteria like streptococcus, staphylococcus, E. coli, etc., present in the feces enter the urinary tract and lead to infections. The bladder and urethra are usually the most commonly affected organs. Females are more prone to develop UTI infections than males. They also have a higher chance of getting reinfection.
The preferred treatment for UTIs is antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics are not able to differentiate between good bacteria and infection-causing bacteria. While they kill the bad bacteria, continued use of antibiotics may destroy the good bacteria in the urogenital tract, which further leads to an imbalance in pH levels in the tract. This condition, in turn, makes the person more susceptible to recurrent UTIs.
UTI in females
About 60% of females experience UTIs in their lifetime. The chances of contracting the infection are even higher after menopause. Since the female urinary system has a unique structure, it is at a higher risk of contracting UTIs. The female urethra is shorter, which means the bacteria have to travel less in females to cause infection.
UTI during summer
Summers and heat are breeding grounds for bacteria and infections. Naturally, the incidence of urinary tract infections is also higher during summer. Some common reasons for increased chances of UTIs in summer are:
- Heat and trapped moisture around the privates, promoting bacterial growth
- Dehydration also leads to an increased risk of UTIs.
Complications of UTIs in women
As per a study, 95% of UTIs in females turn into recurring cases. Researchers are concerned that the overuse of antibiotics may have resulted in antibiotic resistance to these drugs. Frequent sexual intercourse and poor personal hygiene are two common reasons behind UTIs and reinfections. Chronic diseases like diabetes are also contributing factors. Women with diabetes may have UTIs caused by resistant pathogens due to glucose being concentrated in the urine, impaired immunity, and diabetes-induced nerve damage, which causes urine retention.
Probiotics for urinary tract infections
The growing concern with the use of antibiotics for the treatment of UTIs has allowed the exploration of alternative therapies which can be used in combination with traditional treatment for improved results.
Probiotic therapies have shown great promise in this regard. The main ingredient of probiotic supplements that work for this indication is lactobacilli.
Some of the benefits of probiotics are:
- Infection-causing bacteria like E. Coli form a ‘biofilm’ in the intestinal and urinary tracts. Lactobacilli in probiotics bind to the epithelial cells in the tracts and replace E. Coli in the system.
- Help maintain optimum pH of the urinary tract to ensure bacterial growth is not promoted.