Dr Michelle: Friendly bacteria and UTIs

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections of any part of the urinary tract causing inflammation. Bacterial infections of the bladder or ureters are commonly known as cystitis. Other specific UTIs include urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) and pyelonephritis (inflammation of the pelvis and parenchyma of the kidney) and are considered more serious.

Although anyone can get a UTI, it is more common in females than males, in fact, women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do. This is likely because the women's urethra (the tube from the bladder to where the urine comes out) is shorter than men.

UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from faeces entering the urinary tract. The bacteria enter through the tube that carries pee out of the body (urethra). There are several things you can do to help prevent a UTI which include helping to keep your genital area clean and staying hydrated during the day.

A UTI is often by treated self-care advice and a painkiller. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids. In some instances, your GP may prescribe you an antibiotic. If your UTI keeps coming back, you may have a urine test and be prescribed a different antibiotic. If you are getting UTIs regularly, it is important to discuss this with your GP as they may recommend further tests.

I often get asked by my clients what they can do to help reduce the risk of UTIs.

There is evidence that D-mannose or a cranberry product (such as juice or tablets) can help. However, both products can contain a lot of sugar, so it advised to consume in moderation.

I also recommended that people try a friendly bacteria supplement that has been specifically formulated to support female intimate health.

Recent evidence suggests that taking a friendly bacteria supplement containing the species of bacteria, Lactobacillus can help support female intimate health. Lactobacillus organisms are dominate in the urinary and vaginal environment in women and can help prevent the adherence and growth of pathogenic bacteria that can cause UTIs. These bacteria have very different properties than the bacteria in our gut as the environment is very different. Therefore, if you are looking for a friendly bacteria supplement for female health, I recommend that my clients make sure the strains of friendly bacteria have been picked specifically for women.

If you are struggling with a UTI, I recommend visiting a GP for individual advice and care.