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Recurrent UTIs - A symptom of gastrointestinal disfunction?

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and Yeast Infections are common (not normal) for women, and often women who suffer from these infections frequently are told that this is just something they have to live with, and are prescribed antibiotics over and over again.

Regular usage of antibiotics has its own side effects and can often add to the initial cause AND therefore looking for the cause is as important if not long term more important than just treating the symptoms. Antibiotics have their place and saves lives but having to use them again and again for the same problem begs the question of this being a long term solution.

A routine question I ask ALL patients when they come in during their first consultations is ‘Do you have a history of recurrent yeast infections? Do you get vaginal itching around your period? or Do you suffer recurring urinary infections?’

Why? Because these infections can potentially imply gastrointestinal dysfunction and an imbalance in the microbiome. By that I mean the bacteria or fungus may be coming from the colon and not just local to the vagina or bladder.

Women can also get itchy vaginally around their period because the PH changes at different points of the cycle and may encourage the growth of yeast and other bacterias.

Then add to the issue recurring courses of antibiotics for that infection which actually worsen the microbiome, which results in other bacteria growing.

Often women can report that they do get UTIs and/or Yeast Infections after intercourse and this can be because of the amount of fluid in the area creating a good medium to transport bacterias or yeast from the anal area to the vaginal/urethral area as this distance is rather short in women. Women will change the material of their underwear and/or their training tights. They will also make sure they don't sit in these wet sweaty clothes for long before showering. All these things help because you are changing the environment for these organisms to grow into a less favourable one, but that doesn't always get rid of the problem. You may have less symptoms but the imbalance may still be there.

( Microbiome is a term that describes the genome of all the microorganisms, symbiotic and pathogenic, living in and on all vertebrates and can be protective when healthy) Recurrent use of antibiotics alters this microbiome. Your microbiome is all over your body. It is not about the number of good bacterias alone as much as the diversity of them and fibres (prebiotic foods) are as important at feeding these good bacterias and creating a better protective environment to limit these less favourable overgrowths.

Other signs and symptoms that make me want to further investigate the presence of a yeast overgrowth are things like having dandruff, itchy ears, flaky skin, or athletes foot or fungal nails. Often I see correlation with these symptoms.

By investigating, I mean I would do an organic acid test and or a comprehensive digestive stool analysis. Often I would advise on both unless I’m sure of what I think it is, or there is a budget constraint.

If you have a history of recurrent UTIs or yeast infections seek the advice of a medical professional.

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