Overactive immune system triggers chronic bladder infections

Published: August 15, 2020

The best thing to do if you want to prevent from getting a bladder infections is an age old idea: keep warm, wear socks and make sure your pelvic area doesn’t get cold. When cold, the natural defense system of the mucus membranes decreases strongly, allowing bacteria, like E. Coli from the intestines, to enter the urinary tract and the bladder.

Women are much more likely to suffer from bladder infections than men. The reason is anatomical, as the urethra, vagina and anus are much closer to each other in the female body, which makes it much easier for bacteria to enter the travel. While some females are able to overcome a bladder infection easily, it can become a chronic condition in others.

Recent research conducted at the Washington University in St. Louis however claims that it isn’t a weak immune system that leads to these chronic infections, but rather an overactive one.

Experiments with mice that were purposefully infected with the most common urinary tract and bladder infection pathogens. Those mice with the most active immune systems were particularly susceptible to chronic infections. A receptor named TLR4 and a group of white blood cells are reportedly to blame for this. According to the researchers’ experiments, those mice who were given medication to suppress these, and those mice who were genetically altered, did not have chronic infections.

Researchers also found that those animals that were susceptible to these chronic infections were also likely to develop new infections much more often.

Apparently it is difficult for the body to find a perfect balance by which the immune system combats the infection, the researchers write in an article published in PLoS Pathogens.

The reaction needs to be strong enough to eliminate and destroy the bacteria, but it mustn’t harm tissue or mucus membranes. If the immune system reacts too strong to this infection and tissue is damaged, it allows the bacteria to travel, hence paving the way for chronic infections, and new infections that can grow in severity.

If this is true in humans as well, researchers say there could be a simple test by which a woman can determine whether she is susceptible to chronic infections. An infection indicator called IL-5 was present in increased levels in the mice 24 hours after infection. A simple blood test in women could determine whether this indicator is present in their bodies too.

Find out more about urinary tract infections, interstitial cystitis and natural remedies for bladder infections.

Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1159174,

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Normal-pelvis-001.jpg, Author: RadsWiki

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Published August 15, 2020 by in Health News
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