antibiotic resistance

E. coli superbug

  1. 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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

8 thoughts on “E. coli superbug”

  1. I have been dealing with an infection for almost two months I’ve been on seven different antibiotics and they aren’t working to get rid of the infection I’ve been drinking lots of water and eating yogurt and taking probioics and nothing is helping I found out I have four different bacteria in my bladder and I feel the antibiotics have kept it from getting to my kidneys but I have a feeling it’s not going to last long been having flank pain and last urine test showed protein in urine. Not sure what to do been getting rocphen shots have dome two so far got two more to go I hope this knocks it out.

  2. Anastasia, I found your article since I have a one abd a half year old suffering from UTI’s due to a multi resistant strain of e. Coli. This is our third visit to the hospital in about a month, we’ve practically been living here. I’ve been reading tons of info on this and I’m concerned that my babies life is at risk. The worst part about all of this is that there seems to be no solution. How were you able to become UTI free? Please direct me to any resource that my wife and I can look into please.

    1. Hi Eric,
      First of all, I’m so sorry to hear your story. I can’t begin to imagine how you feel. Must be very scary.
      Here are my thoughts, but please remember that I’m not a physician and my learnings are mostly based on my personal adult experience. Please make sure to consult a doctor.
      In terms of prevention:
      1) Ask your physician or a naturopathic doctor about D-Mannose supplementation. Perhaps they could help you with a dose for your baby since the doses on this blog are suggested for adults. D-Mannose could be given as a preventive measure as well as together with antibiotics. There are no guarantees, but good thing about it is natural and has very little and reversible side effects as far as we know.
      2) Check your baby’s diet. Decrease amount of processed food and sugars. Increase amount of veggies to provide enough fiber.
      3) Increase amount of water (I’m sure you have heard this before).
      4) Consult with a physician about probiotic supplementation to restore her/his bladder flora, especially given how much antibiotics you have been prescribed.
      5) Check what options are available to help to decrease bladder’s inflammation naturally. This is a post about options for adults.

      If treating an acute UTI, check if you can use NAC together with antibiotics. Read more here.
      If you do not have access to a naturopathic doctor, you can just print out and bring the articles linked to the posts to your physician or ask them to search on Pubmed about D-Mannose, NAC, bladder microbiome.
      I would also give a try to homeopathy alongside with your existing treatment and prevention plan. Some think of it as pseudo science, but it is considered safe even for babies.
      Best of luck and I hope your baby can be UTI-free soon and you can focus on fun things together,

  3. I too also have this infection right now after a week of agony and pain on normal uti antibiotics. The test came back antibiotic resistant. So now I am on macrodantin 4 times a day for 5 days

    1. Hi Julie,

      So sorry to hear, this sounds devastating. I’m sure Macrodantin (other brand names are Furadantin, Macrobid, Macrodantin) will work for you. It won’t hurt to start taking D-mannose TOGETHER with the antibiotic since it does not interfere with it at all and has no side effects. Just make sure to buy it in bulk, I went through one bottle in two days and it can get expensive. And plan to start a potent probiotic 24 hours after your last antibiotic pill. Best wishes and let me know how you feel in a week!

  4. I have st 131 right now. It is terrible. I have the typical symptoms, plus debilitating back pain. Hopefully this antibiotic works. (Its the second one.)

    1. Oh no, so sorry to hear! Feel better soon and stay strong!
      What type of antibiotics did they prescribe you?
      Sending you positive vibes.

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