Meat consumption can increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection, according to new research by a Portuguese team. How then, and are there any precautions you can take to reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infections are common, especially in women. The morphology of their urinary tract makes them more susceptible to a bladder infection, since the urethra is particularly short, which facilitates the penetration of bacteria into the bladder.
Those bacteria actually come from the intestines and end up in the bladder, close to the entrance to the urinary tract. Once in the bladder, they start to multiply, which causes inflammation that gradually expands.
The most common bacterium in a bladder infection is Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is responsible for an estimated 80% of cases, but Staphylococcus Saprophyticus (S. Saprophyticus) can also cause a bladder infection.
Farm animals are natural carriers of these bacteria. If we eat their meat, it may be that the infectious bacteria get into our body, which poses a threat to our health and in particular to the urinary tract after passage through the intestines.
A Portuguese team (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), which examined S. Saprophyticus in more detail, analyzed samples of pork processed in slaughterhouses near Lisbon, and also studied the urine samples from women who had contracted a urinary tract infection.
When S. Saprophyticus was involved in the bladder infection, the researchers were able to demonstrate in many cases a clear genomic similarity with the strains present in the pork. In addition, the bacteria showed a disturbing resistance to certain antibiotics, which makes it more difficult to fight the infections they cause.
How can we limit the risks?
Regardless of the type of bacteria, there are some basic recommendations for the consumer in terms of meat consumption. For example, you should scrupulously observe the hygienic measures in the preparation of meals, especially washing hands regularly.
In addition, it is best to freeze raw meat if you do not intend on cooking it right away. You should also avoid thawing your meat at room temperature. It is also better to fry meat well, especially minced meat (minced meat, sausage, etc.).