If you have recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs), a kind of vaginal bacteria may be at fault. These microbes, known as Gardnerella vaginalis, were the subject of a U Washington study—which found that they are responsible for E.coli multiplication within the bladder.
UTIs most often occur when bacteria from the bowels make their way into the urinary tract. Most often, these infections take up host in the bladder, and are usually treated with antibiotics.
In young, sexually active women, about 80 per cent of UTIs are caused by E. coli. While most women assume that recurring UTIs occur when E. coli is reintroduced to the urinary tract. However, the study found that G. vaginalis could trigger UTIs, causing E. coli already hiding in the bladder to cause another UTI. What’s more, it found that G. vaginalis also may be a contributor to more serious—and potentially deadly—kidney infections.
As such, it is important for women with recurring UTIs to discuss this with their doctors. Additionally, UTI-prone ladies can take the following steps to help keep the urinary tract bacteria-free:
- Drink plenty of water. This will help dilute your urine and increase the frequency of urination, flushing bacteria from the urinary tract.
- This one may seem obvious, but wipe from front to back—this will keep bacteria from the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Always urinate after sex. This will help to remove any misplaced E. coli from the urinary tract.
- Avoid douches, powders, deodorant sprays, and fragrant soaps. These can potentially irritate the urethra.
- Check out other methods of birth control. Diaphragms or unlubricated condoms can contribute to bacterial growth.