Chronic occurring urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are common and patients are often resistant to antibiotics. To understand why UTI’s are so common and why it is difficult to treat it as well as many inflammatory conditions, we need to understand how biofilm works and how to treat it naturally. According to the National Institute of Health more than 60% of microbial infections are caused by biofilms.
Biofilms are “self-assembling multicell communities “ It is a complex organisation of bacteria and other organisms attached to a surface that live together in organised structures and communicate in a cooperative manner . Bacteria that live in biofilms are embedded in a slime-like matrix (glycocalyx) comprised of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) including polysaccharides, nucleic acids and proteins. Most bacteria regardless of species exist in a biofilm.
There are many forms of pathogens in the human body which have evolved over 2.5billion of years. We have commensal bacteria which for instance if on the skin is harmless, but if it gets below the skin can cause a serious infection in the immune compromised person. Staphylococcus epidermidis (surgical wounds) or Staphylococcus aureus (nasal carriers can transfer bacteria from nose to open wound) are such examples.We have Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria and cell wall deficient bacteria (stealth pathogen). An example of cell wall deficient bacteria is Mycoplasma hominis responsible for urinary tract infections or enlarged prostate. Mycoplasmas are tiny group of bacteria, which originates 2.5 billion years ago and had to evolve to be resistant.
Other chronic disease associated with biofilm are:
- Recurrent tonsils
- Recurrent middle ear infection
- Chronic sinusitis
- Bronchiectasis (abnormal widening of one or more airways)
- Endocarditis (inflammation of the inner layer of the heart)
- Inflammation of bone or bone marrow
- Chronic bladder infections
- Kidney stones
- Chronic prostatitis
- Cystic fibrosis*
- Recurrent infections of vagina
How bacteria attaches itself to the host?
There are many ways and a very complex pathogen can attach itself to the human host and stay for a long time and then proliferate into the surrounding environment. This is why a patient with a chronic bladder infection ends up with kidneys infection. Also, we need to understand that we are not dealing with one pathogen and biofilm either, this is why antibiotics do not work in these circumstances. As a matter of fact only friendly bacteria and less resistant to antibiotic bacteria dies, giving space to antibiotic resistant and biofilm proliferation.
Many organisms have glycoproteins or lipoproteins which enable them to attach to specific receptors on the surface of host cells. Glycocalyx (slime layer) – polymers of polysaccharides that form a meshwork of fibrils extending from the cell surface
How biofilm is sustained
When bacteria, cell wall deficient bacteria (Mycoplasma) and /or virus forms a biofilms – they are a multilayered community of all the above held together on the surface by polysaccharide secretion. Now they have an advantage as they are protected from environment fluctuations, they communicate with each other, support each other, share information and nutrients and promote resistance to antibiotics. Remember that these colonies have been around for 2.5 billion of years so they have learned to adopt and they still can and do and do it very fast like something like within days. Some are even invisible to the immune system or they “hide and sleep” or when an antibiotic is applied bacteria “plays dead”.
So can we beat biofilm naturally?
Biofilm eradication requires multifactorial approach:
- Prevention of biofilm formation
- Modulating of biofilm phenotype
- Disruption of the glycocalyx (slime) shield
- Development of biofilm- resistant surfaces
This is where herbal medicine, nutrition and specific probiotics are really shining. Did you know that they are specific herbs to address each of these steps, and for each species of bacteria , that some herbs address a specific cell wall deficient bacteria (Mycoplasma) and other Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria. Also there are very specific herbs for different type of viruses too.
So the future of winning any battle with biofilm or antibiotic resistant bacteria like mycoplasma depends on the herbal medicine.
*Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a relatively common inherited disease in which from infancy there are recurrent chest infections causing lung damage, intestinal malabsorption leading to severe malnutrition and growth failure, and there is an excess of salt in the sweat. Untreated, the condition is usually fatal in infancy or early childhood.
If you would like to know more how natural medicine can help you, please contact Danuta Hulajko on 02 9541 2428
Danuta Hulajko is a holistic practitioner, international speaker, the founder and the practitioner at the DH Natural Medicine Clinic and www.healingremedies.com.au , Sydney. She specialises in anti-aging, autoimmunity, thyroid conditions, digestive disorders and heavy metals chelation. For more information please go to our website. You can follow Danuta Hulajko work, events, seminars, expos, latest health research, her health tips and advice on Facebook and LinkedIn