Why Antibiotics Are The Golden Standard
Urinary tract infections occur due to an external bacterial infection in the urinary tract of a body. The most common treatment option is a course of antibiotic therapy that targets the pathogens and the bacteria causing the infection.
The appropriate antibiotic course leads to higher symptomatic and bacteriological cure rates and significantly reduces the chances of reinfection. The types of antibiotics prescribed as the first line of treatment are based upon the type of bacteria found in your urine after the urine analysis, your health status, and the severity of the infection.
What If Its Not A Uti
If you have symptoms of a UTI, chances are thats what youre dealing with. In some cases, though, these symptoms can also be signs of more serious health conditions.
Other conditions that can cause similar symptoms include:
- Bladder or kidney cancer
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Blood in semen
A family history, physical exam, and lab tests can help your doctor determine the next steps and potential causes of your lingering UTI symptoms.
Consider Switching Birth Control
Some older research suggests that certain contraceptives may contribute to the cause of UTIs in some women.
If you use diaphragms, spermicides, or nonlubricated condoms and get frequent UTIs, it may be worth talking to your doctor to find other methods of birth control.
Its not uncommon for UTIs to go away on their own with at-home care and without the use of antibiotics.
Some research estimates that 25 to 42 percent of UTIs can go away on their own. This is usually only common in women with no other health issues.
However, there are some serious risks that can come from leaving a UTI untreated, including pyelonephritis and .
UTIs are painful, but with treatment, you can alleviate an infection and prevent recurrent infections. Talk with your doctor if you have symptoms of a UTI. With proper treatment, you should begin to feel better in a few days.
Take your antibiotics as instructed even after your symptoms improve to prevent complications or a secondary infection.
If the UTI doesnt resolve after antibiotic treatment or you end up with multiple episodes of a UTI, your doctor will likely do further testing.
This could be in the form of:
- urodynamic testing
You may be referred to a urologist, depending on the severity of your UTI or if you have chronic infections.
Certain strains of bacteria can cause UTIs. They can range from mild to severe. The degree of severity depends on multiple factors, including:
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Who Else Has A Higher Risk Of A Uti
There are a handful of other factors that can boost your odds of developing a UTI. They include:
- Uncontrolled or inadequately controlled diabetes
- Certain forms of birth control, such as diaphragms that put pressure on the urethra
- Being sexually active, particularly with a new partner
- Anatomical abnormalities or blockages along the urinary tract, such as kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate
Because UTIs are so common, theyre also subject to a greater spread of misinformation than other conditions. Contrary to myth, you cannot get a UTI from using tampons or sanitary napkins, wearing tight clothing, riding a bike, or failing to urinate after intercourse.
How Can I Prevent Utis
If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you know that once is more than enough. The good news is you may be able to prevent UTIs. Try these simple tips:
Drink a lot of fluids .
Pee when you need to. Don’t hold it.
Pee before and after sex.
Wash the skin around your anus and genitals with warm water and gentle soap.
Use barriers like condoms and dental dams during sex, especially during sexual contact with your anus.
Also, anything that touches or goes into your anus like a finger, penis, or sex toy should be thoroughly washed before touching other genitals.
If youve got a vulva, wipe from front to back after using the bathroom and keep your vulva clean and dry. You can do this by wearing underwear with a cotton crotch and not using douches, powder, or deodorant sprays in your vagina.
If you get frequent UTIs, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplement pills might help prevent them. If none of these things help, your nurse or doctor may give you a low dose antibiotic to take on a regular basis or after sex. So its also a good idea to talk to a doctor or nurse to see if there are any other reasons you might be getting UTIs.
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Do Cranberries Cure Utis
No home remedies for UTIs exist. Drinking water can help to flush the infection from your body faster, and keep you hydrated for example, but its not a cure.
Similarly, cranberries are not a UTI remedy, although theres limited proof suggesting compounds present in cranberries, including sulfuric acid, may decrease the likelihood of repeat UTIs in women because they prevent certain bacteria from latching onto the wall of the urinary tract.
Between cranberry juice, cranberry extract and various cranberry supplements, no cranberry products are any better or more effective than others, as none have been specifically studied. That said, if you do seek out cranberry juice, opt for unsweetened cranberry juice, not cranberry juice cocktail.
Antibiotics For Uti: Whatre Your Options
If you are experiencing a urinary tract infection , you are not alone. Roughly 60% of women and 12% of men will have at least one UTI in their lifetimes. It is one of the most common outpatient infections in the United States.
Urinary tract infections begin when microbes enter the urinary system, overcome the bodys natural defense mechanisms, and multiply. For many patients, these infections can be uncomfortable.
Although fungi or viruses can cause some UTIs, bacterial microbes are the primary cause behind most infections. The best way to treat a bacterial UTI is to kill the germs causing the condition with antibiotics. Patients who take antibiotics for UTI conditions often report experiencing relief within just a few days.
Lets take a closer look at the different antibiotic options for UTI treatment.
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Why Should I Take The Full Dose
Antibiotics work well against UTIs. You might start to feel better after being on the medicine for just a few days.
But even so, keep taking your medicine. If you stop your antibiotics too soon, you wonât kill all the bacteria in your urinary tract.
These germs can become resistant to antibiotics. That means the meds will no longer kill these bugs in the future. So if you get another UTI, the medication you take might not treat it. Take the full course of your medicine to make sure all the bacteria are dead.
Im Pregnant How Will A Uti Affect My Baby
If you have a UTI and it isnt treated, it may lead to a kidney infection. Kidney infections may cause early labor. Fortunately, asymptomatic bacteriuria and bladder infections are usually found and treated before the kidneys become infected. If your doctor treats a urinary tract infection early and properly, it wont hurt your baby.
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What Are Potential Side Effects Of Antibiotics For Uti
In addition to the notable side effects weve already covered, there are a few more potential antibiotic side effects youll want to know about.
Most antibiotics can cause some degree of stomach upset like nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you have severe diarrhea or diarrhea that lasts for 2 or more days, let your healthcare provider know. Diarrhea is a common side effect while taking antibiotics and just after finishing them. But in some cases, diarrhea from antibiotics can be a sign of a more serious infection caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria.
Some people are also sensitive to antibiotics, which could result in a minor reaction like a rash or a more serious reaction like anaphylaxis. If you notice difficulty breathing or major skin changes after taking an antibiotic, get medical help right away.
Why Do Women Get Utis More Often Than Men
Women are more susceptible to getting a UTI thanks to their anatomy. Their urethras are both closer to the rectum and shorter in length than mens urethras are theyre also near the vagina. In other words, womens bodies naturally present a convenient access point for the myriad bacteria that commonly cause UTIs.
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Can I Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
You can usually prevent a urinary tract infection with lifestyle changes. These tips can include:
In some post-menopausal women, a healthcare provider may suggest an estrogen-containing vaginal cream. This may reduce the risk of developing a UTI by changing the pH of the vagina. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have recurrent UTIs and have already gone through menopause.
Over-the-counter supplements are also available for UTIs. These are sometimes recommended for people who have frequent UTIs as another way to prevent them. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements and ask if these could be a good choice for you.
What To Expect At Home
UTIs can lead to infection. Most often the infection occurs in the bladder itself. At times, the infection can spread to the kidneys.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Needing to urinate more often
- Hard to empty your bladder all the way
- Strong need to empty your bladder
These symptoms should improve soon after you begin taking antibiotics.
If you are feeling ill, have a low-grade fever, or some pain in your lower back, these symptoms will take 1 to 2 days to improve, and up to 1 week to go away completely.
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Which Antibiotic Will I Be Prescribed
Uncomplicated UTIs are most commonly treated with a three day course of one of two antibiotics: trimethoprim or nitrofurantoin. Trimethoprim works by stopping certain enzymes in bacteria from working, which stops the bacteria from being able to multiply.10 Nitrofurantoin works slightly differently it damages a bacterias DNA to stop it from being able to work properly.
Occasionally, the course of antibiotics you are given wont work for you. This might be because the UTI is caused by an unusual bacteria, because the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic youve been given, or that the symptoms are caused by something else entirely.
If symptoms remain significant after the three day course of antibiotics, it is advisable to return to your GP they might do more tests to ensure the diagnosis of UTI is definitely correct
Generally, when you visit a healthcare professional with symptoms suggestive of a UTI, urine will be tested in whats called a dipstick test this is a fast test which can show whether certain cells and components which may indicate infection are present in the urine. If this test is positive and symptoms are suggestive of a UTI, the urine sample probably wont be sent off to the labs for further testing, as there is no real need for this.11
Otc Uti Treatment: Key Takeaway
Women are prone to contracting a urinary tract infection at least once in their life. Certain UTIs do not need treatment if they are diagnosed on time and if the symptoms are cared for, however, some UTIs require medical intervention in the form of antibiotics.
While antibiotics are the standard treatment for UTIs, researchers are looking for better OTC treatment options for UTI symptoms that might eliminate their need. Several OTC UTI treatment drugs help prevent and manage UTI symptoms but should never be considered a replacement to prescribed antibiotics. The only clinically proven cure for a UTI is a prescribed antibiotic and nothing else as of yet.
If you think you have a UTI, you may visit Family Medicine Austin and consult our healthcare experts. It is always advised to avoid self-treatment and seek medical help.
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How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. After several days of antibiotics, your doctor may repeat the urine tests to be sure that the infection is gone. It’s important to make sure of this because an incompletely treated UTI can come back or spread.
If someone has a lot of pain from a UTI, the doctor may recommend a medicine to help relieve the spasm and pain in the bladder. This will turn pee a bright orange color, but it’s harmless and will usually make a person much more comfortable within hours. In the case of a kidney infection, a doctor may prescribe pain medicine.
If you’ve finished all the medicine or if your symptoms aren’t much better after 2 to 3 days of treatment, contact your doctor.
Drink lots of water during and after treatment because each time you pee, the bladder cleanses itself a little bit more. Cranberry juice may also be helpful. Skip drinks that containe caffeine , such as soda and iced tea.
People who get a doctor’s help for a UTI right away should be clear of symptoms within a week. Someone with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .
A doctor may tell people with UTIs to avoid sex for a week or so, which lets the inflammation clear up completely.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do I need any tests, such as urinalysis?
- What is the likely cause of my urinary tract infection ?
- Do I need medicine? How should I take it?
- What are the possible side effects of the medicine?
- When should I expect relief from my symptoms?
- What symptoms would indicate that my infection is getting worse? What should I do if I experience these symptoms?
- I get UTIs a lot. What can I do to prevent them?
- Do I need preventive antibiotics? If so, should I be concerned about antibiotic resistance?
- My child gets UTIs a lot. Could an anatomical problem be causing his or her UTIs?
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How Long Does A Uti Last If You Dont Take Antibiotics
Its hard to say how long your UTI will last if you dont take antibiotics. It can depend on how severe your infection is, and what parts of your urinary tract are infected. It may also depend on your own unique anatomy, your vaginal microbiome, and your other medical conditions. There is some evidence that 25% to 50% of people not taking antibiotics will usually get better within a week.
Most UTIs are not associated with kidney damage or other long-term problems. But even a mild UTI can cause major pain and discomfort. And UTI symptoms can also interfere with your personal life, or cause you to miss work.
In some cases, a mild UTI can spread to your kidneys if its not treated. In people with normal urinary tract anatomy this seems to happen about 2% of the time. But if your kidneys are infected, its possible that they could be damaged especially if the infection isnt properly treated. In some cases, the bacteria can spread beyond your urinary tract and infect your blood or other body tissues. This can lead to a life-threatening situation, or even death.
What Antibiotics Are Used To Treat Bacterial Utis
Once your physician has determined the location of your UTI and whether its complicated, he or she will likely suggest an antibiotic for treatment. Infections in the lower urinary tract are typically treated with oral medication , while upper-tract UTIs usually merit intravenous antibiotics.
All antibiotics require a prescription. This is, in part, to avoid the potential for antibiotic misuse, which can result in your body forming a dangerous resistance to antibiotics. Its also a way to ensure that you visit a healthcare provider when you have symptoms. If left untreated, even an uncomfortable but harmless lower-tract UTI can become more severe, particularly if its allowed to travel further up the urethra and take up residence in your kidneys.
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Sex May Cause Utis But Its Not The Only Culprit
The urinary tract is designed to keep bacterial microorganisms outbut its not foolproof. Anything that upsets the natural flora of the urinary tract can lead to a urinary tract infection. Sex especially puts a woman at risk for developing a UTI, since during intercourse the urethra comes into contact with bacteria from the genital area or anus that can move into the urinary tract. In fact, almost 80% of premenopausal women with an infection have had sex within the previous 24 hours.
But there are other pre-existing conditions, activities, and products that can lead to a UTI. Some of the most common causes include:
Other reasons youre likely to develop a UTI involve urinary tract abnormalities, a spinal cord injury, nerve damage around the bladder, and having a shorter urethra than normal. Getting a urinalysis to examine the urine for the number of healthy red blood cells and healthy white blood cells, as opposed to bacteria counts in your urine, can help further determine a root cause of recurring UTIs.
Is 3 Days Of Antibiotics Enough For A Uti
For uncomplicated cases of UTIs, 3 days of antibiotics should be sufficient to clear the infection. You may even notice that your symptoms have vastly improved after only one or two days of taking antibiotics. However, its important to always finish a course of antibiotics to ensure that the infection has completely cleared.
The antibiotics usually prescribed for a urinary tract infection are Trimethoprim or Nitrofurantoin, both of which can be purchased from UK Meds without an existing prescription.
Some people will require more than the standard 3 days of antibiotics though. These dosage instructions are most common, but they are based on females. Adult women are 30 times more likely to develop a UTI than men, however this does not mean that men dont get them.
Treating UTIs in men typically requires a longer course of antibiotics because the infection is usually considered complicated. Men will normally be prescribed a 5 day course of antibiotics but some people may need to take the medication for 7 to 10 days.
For those who are experiencing recurrent UTIs, you may be prescribed a low-dose course of antibiotics lasting 6 months or longer. This would not be without proper exploration for the cause of the recurrent infections though.
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