E. coli in a smear in women – a norm or a pathology?24.05.2022
Is E. coli a beneficial or dangerous microbe?
In the body of a healthy person, there are millions of different microorganisms that are saprophytes. They peacefully coexist with a person without causing harm. What’s more, many of them are beneficial by creating protection against disease-causing microbes. Among them is Escherichia coli – in Latin Escherichia coli.
E. coli in a smear in women is a useful inhabitant of the intestine
Being an inhabitant of the intestines, it makes up 1% of all beneficial microflora. Escherichia take part in important biological processes:
- the formation of bilirubin;
- utilization of “bad” cholesterol from the intestines;
- synthesis of B and K vitamins;
- absorption of trace elements;
- maintaining the existence of beneficial microflora – bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
Among the hundreds of different forms of coli in the intestines, there are also its dangerous “relatives” with enteropathogenic properties, that is, capable of causing inflammation of the intestines, diarrhea. It is they who, getting into the genital tract, behave aggressively, causing an inflammatory process – vaginitis, colpitis, endocervicitis.
You should be aware of other reasons why even useful Escherichia acquire pathogenic properties. In the body, there is an immune regulation of bacterial balance, when good immunity maintains it at an optimal level, inhibits the development of microorganisms.
Reduced immunity leads to excessive reproduction of E. coli, they mutate and turn from beneficial bacteria into harmful ones. Their concentration in the genital tract increases, inflammation occurs. It turns out that Escherichia can be beneficial to the body, and can behave like enteropathogenic microbes.
The inflammatory process occurs in those at risk when favorable conditions are created for the development of Escherichia coli.
This happens in women weakened by various diseases, with diabetes, allergies, during pregnancy, after long-term use of certain medications, radiation therapy, chemotherapy.
Where does E. coli appear in a smear in women
The probability of getting the microflora of the rectum into the genital tract of a woman is very high. This can happen if the rules of personal hygiene are not followed, as well as while taking a bath, swimming in a pond, pool, where E. coli is always present in the water. Infection is facilitated by a woman wearing the wrong underwear – from breathable synthetic fabrics that do not cover the crotch of the thong.
A shower should be preferred to a bath, it is one of the causes of infection with an enteropathogenic bacillus.
Another way of infection is during sexual contact, if the microbe is present on the partner’s genitals. Especially if unprotected sex is practiced with a combination of anal and vaginal methods. The frequent change of sexual partners plays an important role.
The introduction of pathogenic Escherichia coli into the vagina is dangerous if its normal microflora is disturbed. For 95% it consists of lactobacilli, which inhibit the development of pathogenic microbes. The causes of dysbacteriosis can be hormonal disorders, lack of nutrition, vitamins, frequent infectious diseases, long-term use of antibiotics.
Gynecological diseases caused by Escherichia coli and their symptoms
Getting into the lumen of the vagina, Escherichia causes vulvitis, vaginitis. If treatment is not carried out, inflammation spreads to the cervical canal and into the uterine cavity, endocervicitis and endometritis develop. Further, when it enters the tubes and ovaries, oophoritis occurs, salpingo-oophoritis – inflammation of the appendages.
When spreading into the urethra, cystitis occurs, which can be complicated by ascending infection and pyelonephritis. A serious consequence is the entry of E. coli through the fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity and the development of inflammation of the peritoneum – peritonitis.
E. coli is especially dangerous for pregnant women. It can enter the body of the fetus, provoke a miscarriage.
To avoid complications, you should be wary already at the first symptoms of infection. Usually they are limited to only yellowish discharge with an unpleasant odor and a slight burning sensation, itching in the vagina. With the progression of the disease and the development of complications, the following signs appear:
- purulent discharge;
- pain in the lower abdomen, in the inguinal and lumbar regions;
- frequent painful urination;
- discharge of cloudy urine with flakes;
- increase in body temperature;
- deterioration in general condition.
These manifestations indicate severe inflammation and require immediate medical attention.
Diagnosis of pathology
The main criterion in the diagnosis is bacteriological examination of smears. Ideally, E. coli should not be in them. There are three commonly accepted norms:
- not found;
- found in a single quantity;
- found in a small amount with a content of leukocytes no more than 15 in the field of view.
The second and third analysis options indicate that the bacillus is present as an opportunistic microbe, without causing inflammation. This takes into account the absence of clinical manifestations in women.
Methods of treatment and prevention
Drug therapy with positive smear results is always prescribed in a complex manner. It includes antibacterial, immune preparations, vitamins and minerals, topical agents.
Antibiotics are shown with a wide spectrum of action, to which a good sensitivity of Escherichia coli from a specific smear is determined. The selection of the type of antibiotic is done by the doctor, he also determines the dose and duration of administration.
It is obligatory to take complexes of vitamins with minerals that increase the protective properties of the body – Alphabet, Multitabs, Centrum and analogues.
A significant role in the treatment of E. coli is played by the intake of vitamins.
A large role is given to local treatment means – douching, suppositories. Assign vaginal suppositories of antibacterial action and containing probiotics to “settle” beneficial microflora. This combination leads to the rapid disappearance of the symptoms of the disease.
It is possible to prevent damage to the urogenital area by E. coli by observing the rules of personal hygiene, using barrier protection during sex, regular visits to the doctor with examination and timely treatment.
Other types of microflora that can be detected in smears
Upon contact with the external environment, a wide variety of flora can be introduced into the genital tract of a woman. You need to know how dangerous its various types are when found in smears.
They are representatives of unicellular blue-green algae, live in warm water bodies. The danger lies in the production of toxins by them, which cause damage and inflammation of the mucous membranes, including the genital organs. Therefore, bathing in “blooming water” is dangerous.
It also refers to unicellular algae, lives in rivers, lakes, aquariums, and is contained in the soil. It is harmless to humans and does not cause disease. Not to be confused with chlamydia, the causative agent of sexually transmitted infections.
A very common pathogenic round bacterium that can cause purulent-necrotic inflammation of any tissue of the body. It develops in the vagina with its dysbacteriosis, forming ulcerations, necrotic crusts, purulent discharge. Detection in a smear requires sanitation.
A dangerous pyogenic microbe that affects any organ. In the genitourinary system, it often develops against the background of dysbacteriosis and chronic diseases. It is characterized by the discharge of pus of a gray-blue color with an unpleasant odor. If detected in a smear, sanitation is necessary.
It is the causative agent of diphtheria, including the genital organs. Infection occurs through household contact from a patient or carrier of the bacterium; people who have not been vaccinated against diphtheria get sick. The stick releases a strong toxin that causes necrosis of the mucous membranes, damage to their vessels, swelling, cicatricial narrowing. Detection in a smear requires complex therapy.
If E. coli is found in a smear in women, it is necessary to find out the source of its appearance, undergo an additional examination and the necessary drug therapy. In the absence of signs of the disease, it is enough to eliminate the causes of the microbe entering, following the advice of a doctor.
See also: lactobacillus spp in women in a smear
The specialist informs in detail about smears on the flora in the video: