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When I was in medical school more than 45 years ago, I learned that E. Coli, a common intestinal bacteria causes recurrent urinary tract infections in women; that women with recurrent bladder infections caused by E. Coli should be given 100 ampicillin pills and be told to take one pill four times a day for three days, whenever they get burning on urination, a feeling that they have to urinate all the time, or have to get up many times to urinate at night. They were also told to take one ampicillin pill before they made love. I have been treating my patients this way for more than 40 years.

Dr. Joe Palermo of Washington University in St. Louis has found out why some women get urinary tract infections over and over again, in spite of the best medical treatment available today. He shows that the treatment I have been prescribing for more than 40 years is correct. Dr. Palermo showed in studies on mice that bacteria that cause bladder infections gather into fort-like pods that keep out antibiotics. The E. coli bacteria burrow into the cells that form the interior of the bladder, which helps them escape not only antibiotics but also the bladder's mechanism for keeping itself clean by shedding a thin layer of cells. Every so often these pods break open, releasing bacteria, causing inflammation and the symptoms of bladder infection.

The pods are similar, but not identical, to other communities of bacteria called biofilm which help protect bacteria that cause cavities in your teeth. This same effect that causes recurrent bladder infections, and recurrent cavities in teeth, may also be responsible for recurrent infections elsewhere in the body including children who suffer recurrent ear infections. More on report E. Coli Syndrome in Women.

Science, July, 2003.

Checked 9/5/05

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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