One of the disturbing things about menopause is the tendency to increased urinary infections. Now researchers at Washington University have found a connection between the two that could increase treatment options.
They now believe they understand how estrogen levels affect infection and inflammation in the bladder.
They found menopausal mice had higher levels of bacteria in their urine from the barrier cells lining the bladder. Usually these barrier cells are replaced quickly, but low estrogen levels were disabling the repair process making the animals more vulnerable to infection.
Antibiotics were not effective because there were more places for the bacteria to survive and regroup when treatment ended.
The researchers found:
- low estrogen disables the repair of barrier cells
- low estrogen was associated with more reservoirs/pockets of infection for bacteria to hide out
- menopausal bladders had higher inflammatory compounds increasing the bacteria’s ability to break into tissue
- normal estrogen levels were associated with lower inflammation and lower reservoirs of bacteria
Once again, inflammation comes into the picture. Dr Mark Hyman and many others consider inflammation a key process in both aging and disease.
Can read the Science Daily article here: