It’s a lament on recurrent UTIs I heard from a friend twenty-five years ago that still echoes in my ears every day, from different patients, if in different words!
Recurrent UTIs, or urinary tract infections, are not only painful but emotionally debilitating.
Feeling that first sting of pain and knowing that, once again, sex has triggered a UTI causes frustration and heartache to countless women and their partners.
Infections in the bladder are usually thought of as quite separate to those in the bladder…but are they really so isolated? We know that bacteria from the rectum (mainly E. coli) is a key culprit in UTIs…why couldn’t vaginal bacteria also play a role?
For the vagina to be healthy, it needs to be dominated by Lactobacillus species of bacteria. If it isn’t, it increases the risk of all kinds of vaginal infection. If the balance of bacteria swings far enough away from Lactobacillus dominance, it’s called bacterial vaginosis (BV).
Gardnerella species are key bacteria present in BV, where lactobacillus numbers have sufficiently declined.
Well guess what? Research shows that Gardnerella has a role to play in recurrent UTIs (urinary tract infections).
E. coli, the main species of bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections, can remain dormant within the bladder after antibiotic treatment. Even when symptoms have resolved, the sneaky critters can be reactivated after sex, causing yet another urinary tract infection.
Guess who’s the culprit of this “reactivation” of UTI? (That is, recurrent UTIs?)
That’s right, gardnerella.
That’s why it’s really, really important to get on top of BV and to strive for a lactobacillus-dominated vagina.
This is my bread and butter here at Equilibria.
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Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Alyssa’s website is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.
She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.
Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.