News / Health

Hormone Estrogen Reduces Urinary Tract Infections in Older Women

Researchers conduct experiment with estrogen, (File photo).
Researchers conduct experiment with estrogen, (File photo).
TEXT SIZE - +
Jessica Berman
Post-menopausal women are at higher risk than younger women of developing bacterial infections of the urinary tract, called UTI’s.  Researchers have found that taking estrogen may help prevent the infections in women who are plagued by them.  

Experts say up to 60 percent of all women will develop a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives, with 20 percent experiencing recurrent episodes.  Most repeat infections are in women beyond their childbearing years, according to Annalie Brauner, a researcher and consultant at the Karoliska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
 
Brauner said post-menopausal women are more susceptible to recurrent UTI’s because the mucosal tissue lining the bladder becomes very fragile, developing gaps which invite harmful bacteria to invade the tissue.  

That’s something researchers, including Brauner, saw in their studies of women with UTI’s. “There was an extensive [and] massive [amount] of bacteria multiplying, and they could also hide away from the body’s own host defense mechanisms,” she said.

Brauner said the body naturally secretes those defensive antimicrobial peptides when it detects invading microorganisms. “And that is the reason why they cannot fend off the invading bacteria as quick as younger women can,” she explained.

Brauner said the bacteria’s ability to burrow deeply into the mucosal tissue lining the bladder also often renders antibiotics ineffective.

But when women with repeated UTI’s were given supplemental estrogen through the vaginal canal, Brauner said the hormone restored the integrity of the bladder's cellular lining to that of healthier tissue seen in younger, premenopausal women.

Researchers repeated their experiments in a mouse model of menopause and got the same results.  

“So, we believe that by treating post-menopausal women with recurrent infections of UTI with local estrogen we could prevent these recurrences,” Brauner explained.

A study on the effectiveness of the female hormone estrogen in preventing urinary tract infections is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid