Urinary tract infection (UTI) recurrence in women may be reduced by probiotics. Urinary tract infections are most common among women, and the infection can reoccur throughout a woman’s life. A depletion of common bacteria – vaginal lactobacilli – has been found to be associated with the recurrence of urinary tract infections. Researchers believe by replenishing the bacteria it can prevent future urinary tract infections and this replenishment can occur with the use of probiotics.
The study looked at women with a history of recurring urinary tract infections that were treated with antibiotics. The women were divided and either received a Lactobacillus crispatus intravaginal suppository probiotic or a placebo over the course of five days, then once a week for 10 weeks.
The findings uncovered that the probiotic may help reduce the rate of recurrence of urinary tract infections in women prone to infections. One hundred women took part in the study and 50 received the suppository probiotic, while the other 50 received the placebo. Seven of the women from the probiotic group experienced a recurring UTI, compared to 13 in the placebo group.
Study author Ann Stapleton said, “Larger efficacy trials of this novel preventive method for recurrent urinary tract infections are warranted to determine if use of vaginal Lactobacillus could replace long-term antimicrobial preventive treatments.”
Recurrent UTI risk factors and treatment
A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract and it can affect the kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that connect them. Urine found in the body is generally sterile, but once bacteria enter it, that is when an infection can be caused.
Urinary tract infections account for 8.3 million doctor visits a year, making them quite common, but if a UTI occurs twice within six months that is when it is known as recurrent.
There are many reasons as to why women experience recurrent urinary tract infections, including:
- Being in a nursing home or hospital
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Having a catheter
- Previous urinary tract surgery
- Sexual activity
- Inborn abnormality of the urinary tract – more common in men
Men, too, can experience a urinary tract infection, but it is not nearly as common in men as it is in women. Another reason why men would experience a UTI is due to an enlarged or infected prostate.
Treatment options for a UTI are vast, and choosing the right one depends on your own situation. Common treatments for a urinary tract infection include:
- Antibiotics for prevention and antibiotics for treatment
- Surgery, if UTI is caused by a disease, stones, or other obstructions
- Frequent urine testing
- UTI vaccine that may be in the works to supplement the often missing proteins women need in order to fight off the infection
- Consuming pure cranberry products
- Urine testing as a means of prevention
- Topical estrogen
Speak to your doctor about your risk and learn more about what you can do to prevent UTIs, as they do come with a serious risk by causing damage to the urinary system.