- coli: pronounced “ee koh-lie”.
Escherichia coli: pronounced “eh-sher-rish-ee-uh koh-lie”.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally lives in the intestines of people and animals. It was discovered in the human colon in 1885 by German bacteriologist Theodor Escherich, therefore the name “Escherichia“.
There are hundreds of types of this bacteria, most of them are harmless to humans and some are even beneficial. Certain types of E. coli live in our intestines and produces important vitamins, such as vitamin K and B-complex vitamins, which we absorb.
There are several strains of E. coli (E. coli O104:H4, O157:H7 and some others), which are very harmful to humans. These harmful ones are believed to mostly live in the intestines of cattle. This bacteria produces one of the most potent toxins, called Shiga. If this type of E. coli enters the human body it will cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea that typically turns bloody within 24 hours. The elderly and young people are more predisposed to complications, when poisoned with this bacteria, which can result in permanent organ damage and death. These strains of E. coli are responsible for dozens of food poisoning outbreaks you might have heard about in the media.
Interestingly enough, the bacteria, which are responsible for the most uncomplicated UTIs are our own. If you have been diagnosed with a UTI and the offending bacteria was identified as E. coli, most likely it traveled straight from your asshole (pardon my French).
- You can have good hygiene and still get a UTI . It doesn’t take much for E. coli to travel up to your urethra, especially if you are a woman. It is hard to get rid of E. coli when it enters your bladder. Bacteria will stick to the walls of a bladder and hide in its lining. E. coli feeds itself off the “sugars”, which are naturally present on the walls of a bladder and therefore grows really fast. Unfortunately, E. coli also causes inflammation, which results in the nasty UTI symptoms: constant urge to urinate, burning sensation.
- coli is a living organism, therefore Darwin’s law is applicable for E. coli as much as to any other creature on Earth. Humans have been attacking E. coli with antibiotics and in order to survive, E. coli has found a way to be more resistant to the treatment. Clinical studies report more cases of resistant E. coli strains, which are responsible for recurrent UTIs among patients.
A rare but aggressive strain of multi-drug-resistant E. coli bacteria, dubbed E. coli ST131, could be responsible for up to 1 million bladder infections and for more than 3,000 deaths a year from infections that started out in the urinary tract.
When you are being treated with antibiotics, make sure to take ALL the pills as prescribed and follow other steps (read this post) to ensure success of the treatment.