Urogenital infections affect up to 1 trillion people worldwide each year including bacterial vaginosis, yeast vaginitis and urinary tract infections (UTI). In women, recurring UTI or rUTI incidence can be as high as 20-30% of women  Often treatment for recurring UTI is long term low dose antibiotics whereupon the infection can return after completing the treatment [1-3].
There are particular groups of people who are at high risk for rUTI including women, spinal injury patients or any other patient requiring long term or repeated catheterization .
Antibiotic resistance is increasingly an issue worldwide. Seeking alternative treatments to frequent or long term antibiotics for urinary tract infections and other urological related ailments is an important part of current research in these areas.
Urinary Tract Microbiome
The urinary tract was long considered sterile but beginning in roughly 2010 studies began to culture various microbes from urine or other related urological sites . This is due to the rapid increase in the technology for culturing microbes as well as the prevalence of new, affordable and efficient genetic laboratory techniques .
It is now well established that the microbe profile of the urinary tract can vary for healthy subjects and patients with urological disorders or disease such as interstitial cystitis, bladder cancer or rUTI [1 -3]. The resulting inquiries have sought to enable the prediction of disease, the prevention of disease or the potential treatment of disease through manipulation of the urogenital microbiome [1-3].
Probiotics for the Treatment of Urogential Disease
These questions are complicated and while research is promising there is no golden egg just yet.
For example, interstitial cystitis patients have an excess of Lactobacillus. However, it is unclear whether this is the cause of an underlying condition or if the condition causes the excess Lactobacillus.
Additionally, women who struggle with rUTI also have children who tend to have recurring UTI. There is likely a hereditary component to this trend, but is there perhaps a microbial component? Could the child have received a pathogenic microbe from the mother, or do both lack a protective microbe or group of microbes? Again, the evidence is unclear and is likely to be so for some time.
There are some promising indications that probiotics will play a role in the future treatment of UTI and other urogenital problems. Lactobacillus rhamnosis and Lactobacillus fermentum strains have been used to decrease the incidence in UTI when used as a vaginal suppository .
Challenges for Probiotics and the Treatment of UTI
There are a few things this research has teased out. Oral probiotics do transfer to the urogenital system . However, we do not yet know or understand the extent to which this is beneficial.
Therapeutic use of oral probiotics will likely be highly strain dependent or require the consideration of multiple factors such as the uropathogens present and the genetics of the patient. If researchers determine that oral probiotics can and do treat or prevent conditions like rUTI that will constitute a major advance in this field. Such a development could decrease widespread use of long term antibiotics, thereby decreasing the risk of ‘superbugs.’
Currently, probiotics are playing a role in complementary medicine as evidenced by the recommendation of a probiotic regime for women suffering from urinary tract infections by the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Guide to Complementary Medicine .
H2PRO™ Immune Health is a probiotic + vitamin supplement that contains four special strains of beneficial probiotics and therapeutic doses of glutamine, arginine, Zinc and Vitamins C and D to support your natural immunity. At H2PRObiotics.com you can subscribe for a monthly delivery of your supplements in your personal fight to prevent recurring UTI’s.
1- Peter M. Grin (2013) Lactobacillus for preventing recurrent urinary tract infections in women: meta-analysis Canadian Journal of Urology. (20):1.
2- Whiteside, Samantha A. (2015) The microbiome of the urinary tract—a role beyond infection. Nature Reviews Urology 12: 81–90.
3 – Reid et al. 2001. Oral Probiotics can resolve Urogenital infections. FEMS: Immunology and Medical Microbiology. 30: 49-52. http://femsim.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/1/49.full
4 -University of Maryland Medical Center, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. Urinary Tract Infections in Women. Accessed: 12/9/2016 http://umm.edu/Health/Medical/AltMed/Condition/Urinary-tract-infection-in-women
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