If you’ve ever experienced a urinary tract infection (UTI), you will know how painful and debilitating they can be. Around one in two women and one in 20 men will suffer a UTI in their lifetime, making UTIs one of the most common bacterial infections worldwide.
UTIs commonly affect the urethra and bladder but can also occur in any part of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys and ureters. UTIs are typically caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli bacteria, and the risk is increased due to poor hygiene, impaired immune function and sexual intercourse. Another factor, which may certainly increase the risk of recurrent infection, is the overuse of antibiotics. This is standard treatment that, unfortunately, may cause more problems in the future by destroying probiotics in the urinary tract, which can also alter local pH and reduce resistance to infection. Long-term antibiotic use can also result in antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli. An alternate approach would see treatments that directly treat the infection while also promoting the immune response, restoring the urinary tract ecology and improving the pH to reduce the risk of recurrence.
In this infographic we explore these treatment strategies in-depth and review the research relating to some key therapeutic agents shown to be of benefit such as probiotics, vitamin D and ellagic acid, which is found in cranberry and pomegranate.
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