For many, there is the thought that if you are suffering from a urinary tract infection --that you need to suffer in silence.
Any issues that occur in the... most private of areas... is a cause for us to clam up and not want to talk about it, or even to even try to seek help. Although it very well is a personal matter, it is also one that is completely natural.
UTIs happen a lot more commonly than we would ever like to admit. While much more common in women, men too can contract urinary tract infections. How we contract this infection varies from person to person and gender to gender, but regardless--it is a natural phenomenon that can be treated and adapted to.
Today we talk about how your gut health can actually be a factor in the frequency of UTIs, and how probiotics can lend a hand in reducing their occurrence.
What are UTI’s?
Let’s start at the bottom.
A urinary tract infection (or UTI) is exactly what it sounds like: a bactenial infection located within any part of the urinary tract.
The severity of this infection varies per person, with some infections leading to a very painful and unpleasant experience, and in others a mild nuisance.
How does one get a UTI?
There are many ways one can contract a UTI, as males contract this kind of infection for different reasons than a female can.
The most common way a UTI can be contracted is when bacteria from the anus makes its way into the urinary tract. This can happen by the simple act of cleaning yourself incorrectly after using the restroom. The act of “wiping” from the anus towards the urethra is enough to move the bacteria from one place to another-- which can easily lead to the start of an infection if the already present bacteria is unbalanced.
When the gut bacteria is unbalanced, meaning that there is more bad bacteria within your gut than there is good, it can leave you more vulnerable to an infection, as bad bacteria such as E. coli will be more present in your system --which means that much more bacteria can travel and cause a UTI.
Another common way to contract a UTI is through sex, as bacteria can easily come into contact with the urinary tract through skin to skin contact.
What can one do to prevent UTI’s?
One can help prevent the occurrence of urinary tract infections by taking steps that lead to being more mindful. The act of wiping “away” from the urethra after using the restroom is one preventative step, as is washing and urinating after sexual interactions.
Drinking enough water each and every day so that urine is regularly passing through your system to flush out any possible bad bacteria is also a preventative step, as is correcting your diet so that your gut and microbiome is properly supported and rebalanced.
Besides active steps you can take to reduce the occurrence of UTIs, there are also “passive” steps you can take, as well.
Probiotics help how, exactly?
When the bad bacteria makes its way into the urinary tract, it will try and take over.
The kind of bacteria that is to blame is what we would refer to as “bad bacteria”. E. coli is one example of this bad bacteria. When this bad bacteria enters into the urinary tract, it attempts to displace the good bacteria, and this conflict creates a shift in the overall bacterial environment of the urethra...and if the infection is not fought off in time it can spread all the way to the bladder and even, in extreme cases, the kidneys.
Enter probiotics, which by nature are a burst of good bacteria. Regularly taking probiotics boosts your body’s ability to fight off infections just like UTIs. Probiotics are able to do this because they reinforce that healthy balance of good bacteria and actively work to keep the bad bacteria in check. This leads to a reduction of the bad bacteria that can hypothetically leave the anus and make its way towards the urethra, where there is already a reduction of bad bacteria.
Think of it as an all around “gut-check” that keeps the bad bacteria on the losing side of the good/bad bacteria battle.
Can men get UTI's too?
As we mentioned earlier, men can contract urinary tract infections, too.
An infection in the urinary tract can occur when bacteria enters into the urethra and has time to infect the area. For men, that can happen for several reasons, the most common being anal intercourse in which the male does not clean himself or urinate afterwards, or when a male’s genitals are left wet for extended periods of time (excess moisture can become a breeding ground for bacteria to seep inside the urethra).
Contracting a UTI in men may be less common than it is in women, but it is still an issue that needs to be understood and fought off correctly. Keeping the area clean and dry, urinating often (as often as the urge occurs) and keeping a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria is how you can reduce the occurrence of this pesky and often painful occurrence.
If you have urinary tract infections that occur more frequently than you can control, reach out to your primary physician right away. Everyone’s body is different, and your P.P. can assist in providing you a custom prevention plan according to your specific body type.
"UTI Treatment Reduces E. Coli, May Offer Alternative To Antibiotics: Treatment With Molecular Decoy May Lessen Recurrent Infections." ScienceDaily. 2017.
Borchert, D. et al. “Prevention and Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection with Probiotics: Review and Research Perspective.” Indian Journal of Urology . 2008.
Brusch, J.. "Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) In Males: Practice Essentials, Background, Anatomy." Emedicine.medscape.com. 2017.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. This article is for general information only.