When you think of E. Coli, you probably think of restaurants that have E. Coli outbreaks in their produce and people getting sick from it, but did you know that 85% of UTIs are caused by E. Coli? That’s pretty common! So how does this happen? How has E. Coli become the leading cause of urinary tract infections?
How Does E. Coli Enter the Urinary System?
The most common way for E. Coli to enter is through the opening of the urethra in fecal matter that comes from the digestive system. Naturally, our digestive system has E. Coli present. This is normal but sometimes the E. Coli can cause illness especially when it accesses the urinary system. How can you help this from happening? Wipe right! If you are a woman, who is most susceptible to UTIs, make sure you are wiping from front to back. There are also many other ways that people can get an E. Coli UTI including through sexual contact, holding in urine, and through food.
E. Coli, UTIs, and Kidneys
Since E. Coli is a major culprit in UTIs, it can also harm your kidneys and possibly lead to kidney failure. How can E. coli bacteria can harm your kidneys? Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), the most harmful form of E. Coli, can be severe for some people and can lead to kidney failure. This type of E. Coli can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which is a kind of kidney failure.
You can take action to prevent getting exposed to E. Coli and possible HUS. Reduce your chance of exposure by following these tips:
- Fully cook your meat. Raw meat can expose you to E. Coli.
- Do not drink unpasteurized beverages.
- Try not to swallow water when swimming in any kind of water.
- Wash your hands thoroughly especially after cooking with raw meat or changing a diaper.
As you can see, E. Coli is a serious virus and needs to be handled quickly and with great care to avoid spreading to the kidneys. Know the risks and preventative options to help you stay healthy and clear from E. Coli. If you have experienced an E. Coli outbreak, consider clinical research studies that may help. Clinical research helps detect, treat, and prevent E. Coli invasions. Clinical trials help us learn more about the various types of E. Coli and how they affect the body. Charlottesville Medical Research is seeking individuals join enrolling studies. To learn more, visit our website, or call us at (434) 817-2442.