Thursday, June 13, 2024

Do Probiotics Help With Bladder Infections

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Probiotics For The Vagina

How do probiotics help with urinary tract infections?

A healthy vagina is dominated by Lactobacilli.

If the vagina becomes populated with yeasts or coli forms, problems such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis can arise.

Populating the vagina with probiotic strains has been shown to help prevent thrush, bacterial vaginosis and ultimately UTIs.

Both oral and suppository preparations seem to be effective.

Although the exact mechanism of the therapeutic effects of these probiotics is not fully known, it has to do with out-crowding pathogens and interacting with the mucosal lining to improve the immune response against pathogens, plus optimizing vaginal pH.

The following strains have been found to be effective for vaginal health and in turn bladder health:

  • L rhamnosus GR-1

These strains have been shown to reduce the recurrence of UTIs, thrush and bacterial vaginosis.

Probiotics To Treat Uti

Using Probiotics to treat uti is also suggested by the medical community as a very promising natural alternative. As research suggests, lactobacillus probiotic strains may be beneficial for uti treatment due to their ability to limit the adhesion of E. coli in the urinary tract, and possibly disrupt E. coli biofilm formation .

A very important benefit of using probiotics for uti, especially when it comes to chronic uti treatment and prevention, is that using probiotics may reduce the need to use antibiotics. Using antibiotic is a very common risk factor for developing yeast infections as well as other antibiotics known side effects. Human trials have found that using lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and lactobacillus fermentum B-54 significantly reduced the incidence of UTI with the patient groups not suffering from any yeast infections .

Best Probiotic For Uti

There are a number of UTI probiotics on the shelves that are developed specifically to address UTI symptoms and concerns. You can take your pick from preventative supplements to the ones that help to restore microbiome balance after antibiotic use.

It is important to choose the right supplement according to your needs.

Also Check: Can I Have A Bladder Infection Without Pain

What Causes A Uti

The World Health Organisation states that UTIs may occur either because of the virulence of the pathogen causing the disease, the susceptibility of the host or a combination of both factors.

UTIs are caused by pathogenic bacteria that enter the urinary tract area. They are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli but other pathogens may also cause infection. These include Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Enterococcus faecalis, Group B Streptococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella spp.5, 6. The most commonly accepted theory is that pathogens are able to travel from the gut to the uro-genital tract. They translocate across the perineum, and ascend to the bladder via the urethra. Here they can cause cystitis.

Some pathogens are able to further migrate and travel to the kidneys via the ureters. This is why women are more at risks of UTIs, as their urethra is much shorter and closer to the anus. Interestingly, it has been shown in women who have recurrent UTIs, their daughters are at a higher risk of UTIs7.

To be successful, pathogens must display specific virulence factors in order to cause disease. They often require flagella to help them move from the genital region across to the urethra and bladder. Once there, they must be able to adhere well to the bladder lining, meaning they require specific attachment molecules .

Definition And Characteristics Of Probiotics

FloraFemme Ultimate Daily Oral Probiotic Supplement

The term probiotic consists of the words pro in Latin and bios in Greek meaning life. The concept of probiotics was first introduced by Elie Metchnikoff, the Russian Nobel Prize winner in 1907. Metchnikoff notes that the microbes in the digestive system can provide positive contributions, especially in the digestive system diseases. The World Health Organization has defined probiotics as useful living microorganisms that have a positive effect on the health and physiology of a person when taken in sufficient quantities. The properties that a good probiotic should have are indicated in .

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Composition Of The Vaginal Microflora

Since the vaginal microflora appears to be so critical to health and disease, what is its composition? In cases of recurrent UTI the dominant organisms are the uropathogens, generally Escherichia coli in recurrent bacterial vaginosis these are anaerobic Gram negative rods, generally Gardnerella vaginalis in recurrent yeast vaginitis these are mostly Candida albicans. It was long presumed that Lactobacillus acidophilus was the dominant member of a healthy vaginal microflora, but this is not the case. Studies using culture followed by molecular typing show Lactobacillus crispatus to be the most commonly isolated organism, however the culture step has since been found to have limitations as not all organisms are easy to culture. Using only polymerase chain reaction and DNA analysis it has recently been shown that Lactobacillus iners is the most common organism, at least in one mainly white population .

Figure 3

The most commonly isolated lactobacilli recovered from vaginal samples and determined directly by PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis.

Myths And Facts About Male Utis

A urinary tract infection is an infection of any part of your urinary system and while they are more common in women, it is a myth that theyre the only ones that get them. 12% of men get UTIs, and the consequences of the condition can be mild or severe. This is just one of many misconceptions about UTIs that people have, so lets explore what ideas people have about this infection, and what is true.

For men dealing with UTIs in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Greater South Florida areas, Drs. Craig Herman, Steven Kester, and the Urology Center of Florida are there with 25 years of experience and state of the art facilities and treatments.

Here are some of the myths about male UTIs:

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Uti And Yeast Infection

Using antibiotics for UTI or for recurrent urinary tract infections often creates a vicious cycle many women have to go through: you take antibiotics for the UTI, the UTI gets cleared but since the antibiotics also kill the good bacteria. The result: you end up with a yeast infection.

This is an area where using probiotics for uti may shine: in addition to being effective for UTIs, using lactobacillus species complex may also be helpful for yeast infection prevention due to their anti-candida properties. As research suggests, lactobacillus probiotic inhibit early stages of candida albicans biofilm development by reducing their growth, cell adhesion, and filamentation .

To learn more about using probiotics for yeast infections treatment and prevention, see:


What Are The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection

How Can Probiotics Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)?

These are the most common symptoms of a UTI:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • Fever
  • Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color
  • Urine smells bad
  • Feeling pain even when not urinating
  • Tiredness
  • Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Despite an strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
  • Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone

The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis.

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How The Intervention Might Work

The most common route of urinary infection is the ascension of host pathogens from the rectum and vagina to the urethra and bladder. Similarly, naturally occurring probiotic organisms in healthy people can spread from the rectum and perineum and form a barrier to uropathogen . It may be possible to artificially boost probiotic colonisation through probiotic instillation via oral, vaginal or intravesical routes.

The Lactobacillus GR1 probiotic strain produces bacteriocins that influence the growth and biofilm development of uropathogen through downregulation of the inflammatory processes . It is reported that a single intravaginal insertion of Lactobacillus GR1 can also upregulate host defence factors known to be important in fighting infection . Similarly, studies with Lactobacillus RC14 strain have shown that it can upregulate mucin production which may act as a barrier to infection , and downregulate virulence factor expression in pathogens such as staphylococci . The organism also affects cell membrane components in Escherichia coli and produces biosurfactants that inhibit their adhesion to surfaces . Lactobacillus acidophilus has also been shown to coat biomaterial surfaces and thus decrease the adhesion of uropathogen and inhibit Enterococcus faecalis, E. coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis from a urine suspension to silicone rubber .

Probiotics And Vaginal Health

Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining urogenital health. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.

Many women eat yogurt or insert it into the vagina to treat recurring yeast infections, a “folk” remedy for which medical science offers limited support. Oral and vaginal administration of Lactobacilli may help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, although there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend it over conventional approaches. Probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections is under study.

Probiotics are generally considered safe they’re already present in a normal digestive system although there’s a theoretical risk for people with impaired immune function. Be sure the ingredients are clearly marked on the label and familiar to you or your health provider. There’s no way to judge the safety of unidentified mixtures.

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Creating Stronger Strains Of Bacteria

Over time, some species of bacteria have become resistant to traditional antibiotics. According to some research , several species of E. coli, the primary cause of UTIs, are showing increasing drug resistance.

The more a person uses an antibiotic, the greater the risk of the bacteria developing resistance. This is even more likely when people do not follow a doctors instructions to complete the full prescribed course of treatment.

It is essential to continue a course of antibiotics until the end date that the doctor provides. People should also never share antibiotics with others.

Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented

What Do Cranberry Probiotics Do

These steps may help reduce the chance of getting UTIs:

  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Drink cranberry juice. Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine. Vitamin C supplements have the same effect.
  • Urinate when you feel the need. Do not wait.
  • Females, wipe from front to back to keep bacteria around the anus from going in the vagina or urethra.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths.
  • Clean the genital area before and after sex, and urinate shortly after sex.
  • Women should not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented douches.
  • Cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes help keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight clothes and nylon underwear trap moisture. This can help bacteria grow.
  • Repeated bouts of urinary tract infections can be treated with small doses of regular antibiotics.

Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have about UTIs.

Also Check: Catheterizing The Female Urinary Bladder

Medical Professionals And Vaginal Wellness Experts Weigh In

A urinary tract infection sits high on the list of things that keep me up at night, namely because Im running to the bathroom. I cant put my finger on what age I started getting UTIs, but I can remember visiting the urologist after searches on WebMD led me to think I had Interstitial Cystitis, a chronic bladder issue. It turns out I didnt, but still had to foot the bill of my imaginary condition.

A few years ago, I developed C. Diff. Colitis, an inflammation of the colon caused by bacteria from taking too many antibiotics. Ive been hesitant to take antibiotics ever since and have embarked on a quest to restore my gut bacteria and microbiomesomething Im still learning about but know is vital in the grand scheme of overall wellness.

What You Should Do

If youre exhibiting symptoms of a UTI, first and foremost, call your doctor. The doctor will advise to do a urine test to determine whether or not you have an acute infection. The sooner you catch and treat a UTI, the better.

In many cases, you will have to take an antibiotic to kill the bacteria that are causing the infection in your urinary tract. If you are suffering from recurrent UTIs, you might want to consider seeing a doctor specializing in urology and/or womens health, in addition to your regular physician.

However, the best case scenario is staying a step ahead of an acute infection and looking to preventative measures for support. These also will help with the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infection.

Read Also: How Can I Treat A Bladder Infection At Home

Overall Completeness And Applicability Of Evidence

This review suggests that there is a lack of evidence that intravesical instillation with nonpathogenic bacteria in adults with neuropathic bladder is effective in preventing symptomatic UTI.

Due to multiple exclusion criteria in these small studies, especially in relation to immunosuppression, presence of other infections, and other urogenital tract intervention/abnormalities, the limited evidence is only applicable to a selective group of the adult population with neuropathic bladder. In addition, there is heterogeneity between bladder management types as well as male predominance between the studies.

From the evidence presented and due to variable success rates, the need for strict adherence to instillation protocols together with high attrition rates in these studies, intravesical instillation with nonpathogenic bacteria is unlikely to be a widely accepted intervention. However, with innovative therapy and with additional support for participants undergoing this procedure, it may be worthy of further study.

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Probiotics vs Antibiotics for Recurrent Urinary Infections

LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS helps maintain the balance of good vs. bad bacteria, aids immune systems, maintains cholesterol levels, helps prevent yeast infections and combats pathogenic microbes.

LACTOBACILLUS FERMENTUM promotes healthy aging by reducing decline in immune function in the elderly, helps neutralize some of the toxic products made during digestion and promotes a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. An antimicrobial and antioxidative probiotic.

LACTOBACILLUS PLANTARUM Regulates immunity and controls inflammation in the gut, helps fortify the gut lining, reduces gut permeability thereby reducing risk for brain disorders, aids in preventing food allergies, ability to absorb and maintain important nutrients such as omega- 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.

BIFIDOBACTERIUM LACTIS Helps prevent digestive ills and boosts immunity, helpful in knocking out pathogens like salmonella, which causes diarrhea.


Combats vaginosis, reduces occurrences of âtravellerâs diarrheaâ, combats allergic reactions to peanuts in children.

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Probiotics For Uti Prevention

Using probiotics for uti prevention is very common practice, and is suggested by many studies as very promising natural alternative. According to the medical literature, there is a close correlation between loss of the normal good bacteria and healthy microflora, particularly lactobacillus species, and an increased incidence of genital and bladder infections . Repopulating your body with probiotics may help to restore a healthy microflora and good bacteria and therefore may help to prevent UTIs.

Economic Reasoning For Research On Alternative Strategies

Urinary tract infection can be regarded as one of the most common community-acquired, hospital-acquired and recurrent types of infection. In the United States, UTIs result in US $1.6 billion in healthcare cost each year. Costs associated with RUTI have not been assessed on a national basis in the UK so far. As infections of the urogenital tract are the most common type of infection worldwide, it can be extrapolated from the US data that treatment of UTI has a major impact on the NHS. In the UK more than 320,000 patients develop infections while in hospital each year and this leads to more than £900 million in costs. Probiotics are a potentially cheap alternative to prevent a large share of these hospital-acquired infections. More importantly clinical trials with probiotics are not expected to increase treatment costs for the participants as has been shown in even more complex oncological patient groups.

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Are Probiotics Good For Urinary Tract Infections

Lactobacillus probiotic strains are considered a very good natural option for urinary tract infections. Recent studies suggest that the lactobacillus probiotic strains may provide a safe and effective way to treat UTIs and prevent recurrent urinary tract infections by boosting the immune response of the body against pathogens such as E. coli that are known to cause UTIs.

Probiotics Are Safe To Use

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Probiotics can be regarded as safe according to a report of the Central Public Health Laboratory, London . Epidemiological studies confirm no increase in bacteriaemia due to probiotic medication after nationwide introduction in Finland. Especially, Lactobacilli have GRAS status . As it seems somewhat counterintuitive to use one sort of bacteria to fight another sort of bacteria and bacteria are generally seen as pathogenic, it is no surprise that the safety of probiotics have been carefully monitored and investigated. Rarely, cases like a liver abscess caused by Lactobacillus rhamnosus have been reported. Recently, case reports on infections from clinical use of probiotics have extensively been reviewed. As a result, the authors agree that probiotics are generally safe but should be used cautiously in immunocompromised patients. In this review of case reports, it is also sensibly pointed out that safety must be established for each individual strain used in probiotic preparations. Trautner et al. write in their report on E. coli HU2117 coated urinary catheters that the potential pitfall of bacterial interference is that no living organism is truly avirulent in an immunocompromised host. Despite having no side effects in their 12 patients studied and despite cautious views from others probiotics have been successfully trialled in immunocompromised patients.

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