Recurring UTIs can be a frustrating code to crack. Despite going the extra mile to stay on top of the exhaustive list of UTI prevention tips (staying hydrated, peeing after sex, not holding in your urine for too long, etc.), some UTIs really do come out of left field. What role does biofilm have in recurring UTIs and how do you outsmart it?
First of all, what is classed as a recurring UTI?
A recurring urinary tract infection can be defined as three episodes of a UTI in the previous 12 months or two episodes within the previous 6 months. While these UTIs seem to happen independently of one another, they could be the result of one larger underlying infection that was never eradicated with the first round of antibiotics.
Biofilm: the process, structure, and function
Urinary tract infections are caused by free-floating bacteria such as E.coli. While these bacteria normally colonize you gastrointestinal tract and anus, they can travel up your urethra to your bladder and multiply. You experience the common UTI symptoms, see a doctor, and are prescribed antibiotics. These antibiotics are usually successful at eliminating the free-floating bacteria in your bladder. However, if you suffer from spontaneous recurrent UTIs,biofilm could be to blame.
Biofilm is when those free-floating bacteria in your bladder join together and adhere to your bladder wall. They create a protective slimy shield which allows complex microbial colonies to flourish. The biofilm process produces antibiotic resistant bacteria, that are dormant until bacteria escape the biofilm pocket and become free-floating bacteria in your bladder. This triggers your body’s inflammatory responses and perpetuates the recurrent UTI cycle. If antibiotics can’t eliminate the recently released bacteria, they can form new biofilm pockets in your bladder, or it can invade the cells in your bladder and createintracellular bacterial communities(ICB).
How do you prevent recurring UTIs?
26-44 % of women who have experienced a UTI will have a recurring onewithin six months. Here are some pointers to help with prevention: