The Pros of Probiotics

Hello friends and readers! Just the other day we received the new issue of PN magazine and as I was looking through it, I stumbled upon an article about the pros of taking probiotics. I’m sure some of you already take probiotics on a regular basis, but what you may not know is how beneficial they can be in helping to prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).

Following spinal-cord injury (SCI) a person may often experience a neurogenic bladder, which requires catheterization or other urinary devices to help drain the bladder. This can introduce unwanted bacteria into the bladder that can lead to a urinary tract infection.

For those of you who live with SCI, UTI’s are a constant and lifelong threat. In fact a staggering 80% of individuals with SCI will develop bladder infections over their lifetime. As a result of these infections, a person is often put on antibiotics and in some cases they can be on these antibiotics for a long time.

However, there is a downside to this; prolonged and repeated use of antibiotics can actually increase the risk of UTIs by:

  • Developing bacteria that are resistant to drugs, causing repeated infections.
  • Destroying good bacteria in your gut, comprising your immune system.
  • Destroying the protective shield of good bacteria that line your urethra. When antibiotics are used for long periods of time, this protective shield is stripped away or replaced by less effective organisms.

So how exactly could probiotics help prevent UTIs? For starters, “good” and “bad” bacteria live in our gastrointestinal, urinary, and respiratory tracts. Although it may seem odd, both kinds of bacteria are necessary to maintain optimal health. Probiotics contain “good” bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum, just to name a few. The probitoics help to restore and maintain the natural bacterial environment to make it hard for “bad” bacteria to cause infection.

Now just to make things clear, regularly taking probiotics will not completely prevent the reoccurrence of UTIs, but studies do show that it did seem to reduce the potential for reoccurrence. Since UTIs are the second most common infection in the body, prompt millions of hospital visits per year and cause billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs annually; taking probiotics as a preventative measure sure wouldn’t hurt.

But they’re quite a few probiotics on the market, all claiming to be the latest and greatest. So here is what to look for when picking a probiotic:

  • A minimum of eight billion active bacteria cultures.
  • Should contain lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidus.
  • If you have a bladder infection or want to prevent one it should contain lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus fermentum.
  • Consider buying freeze-dried probiotics as they keep the flora dormant until it enters your body.
  • Keep it stored in the fridge.

So did you find this post helpful, informative, or interesting? Let us know in the comment section below.

As always have a great week and we will see you next time!

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Sources:

Chan, A. (2011, April 15). Probiotics Could Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from http://www.livescience.com/13747-good-bacteria-prevent-urinary-tract-infection.html

James, K., & Smith, J. (2014, September 1). The Pros of Probiotics. PN Mag, 22-23.

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