We have already seen that a healthy intestinal microbiota with great diversity is able to reduce chronic inflammation and support the immune system. Today we discuss the fact that when the gut microbiota is in distress and presents with a poor variety of bacterial strains, often due to overuse of antibiotics, it is easy to notice cases of recurrent cystitis and increased levels of inflammation. These results were published a few days ago in the prestigious journal Nature Microbiology thanks to a collaboration between the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (Worby et al, Nature Microbiology, 2022).
Antibiotics and cystitis, a vicious circle
Scientists started from the observation that, in the case of cystitis, courses of antibiotics are able to solve the problem only temporarily, then opening the way to other cystitis. As suggested by recent studies, it seems that antibiotics, while treating the current infection, at the same time create a favorable ground for subsequent infections. Precisely to better understand this consideration and to understand how to act against recurrent cystitis, the American researchers have developed the study we are talking about today.
Recurrent cystitis and microbiota, here's the link
30 women were recruited, half with a history of recurrent cystitis and half healthy. The women underwent medical examinations and visits once a month for a year. What emerged was that, both in the presence of recurrent cystitis and in the total absence of infection, the bacterium Escherichia coli, the main cause of cystitis, was always present in the intestine. Therefore, this means that, despite the courses of antibiotics, the medicines are not able to completely eradicate the bacterium that, on the contrary, is always present even in perfect health conditions. However, scientists have observed another peculiarity, which explains why some people are more prone than others to develop cystitis and then recurrent cystitis. It all depends on the state of health and the diversity of the intestinal microbiota. In women with recurrent cystitis, the intestinal microbiota is less varied and above all lacking in bacteria capable of producing butyrate, a substance with an anti-inflammatory and protective action against any urinary tract infections. It is likely that it was also the use of antibiotics against cystitis that reduced the diversity of the microbiota, thus creating a vicious circle that from a cystitis creates favorable conditions for other infections. On the other hand, women with greater diversity in the intestinal microbiota and with bacteria that produce butyrate have greater protection from the body itself, capable of keeping the bacterium Escherichia coli at bay.
To combat cystitis it is essential to start acting right away
It is therefore important to act on your intestinal microbiota, which, as we have seen, if it is healthy, has important benefits on the whole organism, also helping to prevent cystitis. We may be led to think, however, that once the microbiota is depleted, we can do little to improve its condition. Fortunately for us, this is not correct. In fact, as evidenced by important scientific research published a few years ago published in Nature, ten days of a healthy and varied diet are actually enough to modify our microbiota (David et al, Nature, 2014). And if we want to increase its diversity and reduce inflammation, we can include fermented foods in the diet that, as we have already seen, protect the intestinal microbiota, increasing its diversity and reducing as many as 19 indicators of inflammation (Wastyk et al, Cell , 2021). All that remains is to start taking care of our intestinal microbiota right away.