UTIs typically cause women to have a severe urge to urinate, and to do so frequently. It’s also often very painful when they do,
and many experiences a burning sensation in their bladder or urethra. Two common factors emerged in urine that had a better
ability to resist bacterial growth: it had a high pH—one that’s more alkaline, in other words-and higher levels of certain metabolites
formed by gut microbes. Physicians already know how to raise urinary pH with things like calcium supplements, and alkalizing
agents are already used in the U.K. as over-the-counter UTI treatments. However, early on in an infection, cells produce a protein
called siderocalin that blocks bacterial growth, including the growth of E. coli. Uncomplicated UTIs usually go away with drugs
within two to three weeks, but in some cases, women may take antibiotics for 6 months or longer if their UTIs keep coming back.
Most UTIs are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), and recent surveillance data shows a significant rise in cases of UTIs
caused by E. coli that are resistant to the antibiotics most commonly used to that treat them. Doctors say “It’s uncomfortable but not
life-threatening, so women don’t go in”.