I’ve only ever had one UTI in my life, when I was in my early 20s, over 40 years ago. I was on holiday in Cornwall and I remember that painful, dragging feeling and the pain when I went for a wee, but only managing to pass a teaspoonful! It only lasted a couple of days though, so I never bothered going to the doctor. I’ve never had one since, but I know many women are plagued with debilitating UTIs.
I put the fact that I haven’t had any further UTIs down to taking regular probiotics, thus ensuring my bladder is always populated with friendly bacteria that can crowd out the E.coli and prevent it from finding attachment points in the bladder, and causing a UTI. I also swear by my supplement protocol to ensure my immune system is as strong as it can be. You can hear me talk about it in this video.
When I hear from women with UTIs, one of their greatest frustrations is that just when they think they have got rid of the infection, they get another one. UTIs are caused by bacteria, usually E.coli, in the urinary tract and a round of antibiotics usually clears up the symptoms, but the relief is often temporary, and some unfortunate women get UTIs over and over, and require antibiotics every few months. Often by the time they get in touch with me, they are in a very bad place, fed up with the recurring infections and the impact it’s all having on their quality of life, not to mention the effect multiple courses of antibiotics are having on their gut health!
While antibiotics do a great job at treating all manner of infections, when it comes to UTIs, they can often do more harm than good. In fact, research suggests that women who get recurrent UTIs may be caught in a vicious cycle in which antibiotics given to eradicate one infection predispose them to develop another.
Some evidence does suggest that uncomplicated UTIs, as opposed to recurring UTIs, should not be treated with antibiotics as it would appear the antibiotics do not reduce the duration and severity of the UTI. One would ask therefore, why prescribe antibiotics in the first place? Why not let the body’s own immune system deal with the infection? Benefit/harm trade-offs need to be considered as antibiotic over-use increases the risk of antibiotic resistance, a serious threat to modern medicine. This review ‘Natural history of uncomplicated UTIs without antibiotics: a systemic review’ in the British Journal of General Practice, gives more insights.
Let me also share a particularly insightful study, which showed that antibiotics taken by women with UTIs eliminated disease-causing bacteria from the bladder but not from the intestines. This means that surviving bacteria in the gut can multiply and spread to the bladder again, causing further UTIs. And the repeated cycles of antibiotics wreak havoc on the community of helpful bacteria in the gut microbiome sending its delicate balance completely off kilter.
The study showed that the difference between the women who got repeated UTIs and those who didn’t, surprisingly, didn’t come down to the kind of E.coli in their intestines or even the presence of E. coli in their bladders. Both groups carried E.coli strains in their guts capable of causing UTIs, and such strains occasionally spread to their bladders.
The real difference was in the makeup of their gut microbiomes. Patients with repeat infections showed decreased diversity of healthy gut microbial species, which could provide more opportunities for disease-causing species to gain a foothold and multiply. Notably, the microbiomes of women with recurrent UTIs were particularly scarce in bacteria that produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid with anti-inflammatory effects.
Read more about the research here.
The findings highlight the importance of finding alternatives to antibiotics for treating UTIs. This is why when any woman struggling with recurring UTIs seeks my advice, I always recommend that she restores the balance of the microbiome in her gut, vagina, and bladder by taking my For Women probiotic capsules and to further support her immune system so that it can stop a UTI in its tracks, by taking my high-strength ‘aged’ Garlic tablets. You can find both a pot of my For Women capsules and a pot of my Garlic tablets in my Women’s Health Duo.
I talk more about how I came to develop these female-specific probiotic capsules in this video.
Just For Tummies customer, Elaine, sums up the efficacy of the capsules perfectly in her For Women review:
Please get in touch if you too suffer with UTIs, BV or thrush.