Biofilms and Bladder Infections
Research regarding urinary tract infections may be of interest to IC patients. A few of us have chronic bladder infections as well as IC, and many of you’ll recall your bladder problems starting off with a genuine culture-verified bladder infection. The relationship of IC to bladder infection has been a controversial one for the last 20years. In bladder biopsies of IC patients, no one has consistently found one infective organism that could be an underlying cause for IC. In studies during the 1990’s, which probed for bacterial DNA in IC bladders, results were inconclusive. In some patients no bacterial DNA was found, in others a variety of species’ DNA was found.
At the time, it was suspected that bacterial contamination of the instruments may have contributed to the inconclusive results. IC research moved on. But patients whose IC occasionally temporarily improves while on antibiotics, have continued to suspect a bacterial connection.
Urologists are not now seriously suggesting that IC has a bacterial origin, but basic science has uncovered a bacterial phenomenon called biofilms, that may lead IC researchers to eventually take a second look at the possible involvement of bacteria in some way. This will likely be spurred on if IC gets a new name and definition that encourages more IC studies involving other parts of the body. Current leading edge research on the function of normal gut bacteria and its relationship to pain modulation and the immune system may become relevant to IC as well.