If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know how excruciating and restrictive this medical problem can be. Between the consistent pain and frequent need to urinate, you may feel like you have to put the rest of your life on hold until the infection passes. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, women are 10 times more likely to develop a UTI than men. Postmenopausal females, in particular, are especially susceptible to this painful affliction.

Many of the physical transformations that occur during menopause – from weight gain to hot flashes – can be attributed to the natural drop in estrogen levels that occurs at this time of life. And, in light of a recent study from Washington University at St. Louis, UTIs may be no different. According to a press release from the the academic institution, researchers have found that estrogen replacement may help the body fend off such infections.

After giving estrogen to mice that no longer produced the hormone, the scientists found that the amount of bacteria in their urine decreased. In addition, they also noted a lower levels of cytokine – an inflammatory compound – and less swelling-related damage overall.

“With the mouse model of menopause that we’ve created, we can more completely understand how estrogen levels affect infection susceptibility, bladder health and the inflammatory response to infection. That should point the way to better treatment strategies,” said assistant professor and senior author Dr. Indira Mysorekar.

Referencing past research that did provide such positive results, Dr. Mysorekar explained that previous studies have focused primarily on the bacteria count in urine, and not on other factors – in this case, cytokines – that may influence infection rates.

While further research is necessary to determine whether hormone pellet therapy can successfully treat UTIs, the other benefits of estrogen pellet implants have been well-documented. The anti-aging doctors at Longevity Centres of America have practiced this procedure for years, and can help you combat some of the most frustrating aspects of menopause.