Do I Really Have To See A Doctor For A Uti
It may seem unnecessary to see a doctor for such a common illness. Why not just let it go and treat it on your own? Dr. Elizabeth Rice, a licensed naturopathic doctor and primary care physician at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, has tips for natural treatments, but says you always have to be careful. A partially treated or mistreated UTI can quickly become a serious condition known as pyelonephritis , so care must always be taken when treating UTIs naturally.
If youre just starting to feel or see potential UTI symptoms, you can try a few natural remedies to try to flush out the bacteria and reduce inflammation before the infection really takes hold, Rice says. Increase your intake of fluids to help flush the bladder. But if the symptoms persist more than a day, or get worse, you have to go to the doctor.
Going to the doctor may be a bit annoying, but a UTI that morphs into a kidney infection is way worse than an afternoon in the waiting room. Kidney infections can lead to potentially life-threatening sepsis or permanent kidney damage. Seeing a doctor to prescribe antibiotics may ultimately help you avoid a lifetime of medical complications.
You know your body best, so listen to it. You may not run to the doctor after one weird-feeling pee. If you start to have mild symptoms, here are a few natural choices that may help you out.
The Lowdown On Natural Treatments
D-mannose is a supplement made from a glucose-like sugar that you can find online or in health food stores. D-mannose is most helpful at preventing E. coli from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, says Rice. D-mannose in recurrent urinary tract infections. . If taken with a lot of water, this can effectively flush out the bacteria that is causing the infection.
Rice often tells patients to take 500 milligrams every two to three hours when experiencing symptoms however, the best dose is individual. You can find more guidelines here, and when in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to follow the manufacturers guidelines. Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to help the D-mannose remove the bacteria. Again, if the symptoms persist more than 24 hours or get worse, get yourself to the doctor.
D-mannose isnt recommended for those with diabetes, and if youre taking other medications, you need to talk to a doctor before starting this treatment. Diarrhea is a common side effect.
Althaea officinalis, otherwise known as Marshmallow, is an anti-inflammatory herb widely available in powdered, supplement, and tea form. Althaea officinalis is a demulcent herb that can soothe and coat the lining of the urinary tract to help decrease inflammation, says Rice. Make a strong tea and sip throughout the day.
Just add water
Practice These Healthy Habits
Preventing urinary tract infections starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, its important not to hold urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection .
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria .
Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it has been linked to an increase in UTIs .
Finally, when you use the toilet, make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can cause bacteria to spread to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs .
Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Spermicide use and wiping from back to front may increase the risk of UTI.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
Here are a few supplements that have been studied:
- D-Mannose. D-Mannose is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries. Research suggests its effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence (
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Home Remedies For Utis
Until there are more advancements in UTI treatment, antibiotics remain the most effective standard treatment. However, prescription medication doesnt have to be the only line of defense.
Along with standard therapy, you can incorporate home remedies to feel better sooner and reduce the likelihood of recurrent infections.
The Awful Truth About Antibiotics
Antibiotics are standard treatment for UTIs. Although they have saved millions of lives, antibiotics must be used appropriately and sparingly. The danger in using them for UTIs is twofold. One, theyre not necessary, because there are excellent nonantibiotic UTI remedies available. Two, they tend to make the situation worse in the long run. Antibiotics kill off both the bad and the good bacteria, the ones we need to stay healthy and avoid future UTIs and yeast infections. In fact, a recent study found that women who used vaginal probiotic suppositories had fewer UTIs than women who used a placebo, or fake probiotic. Clearly, good bacteria are our friends, and we need to do everything we can to keep them happy.
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When To See A Doctor For A Uti
Always go to your primary care physician immediately if there is blood in the urine, if you have a fever, and/or low back pain with your UTI symptoms, Sajdak advises. UTIs can move fast, so its better to go sooner than later.
Although natural remedies can be beneficial for alleviating UTI symptoms and preventing recurrent UTIs, they may not be effective in treating the infection.
If symptoms still persist after three days then it is time to move on to antibiotics, says Ivy Branin, ND, a naturopathic doctor in New York City who specializes in womens health. I often recommend a patient to see their doctor for a UA and a prescription for antibiotics just in case and to fill it if they have no improvement after three days.
Leaving a UTI untreated can cause additional health problems. Bacteria can reach the ureters or kidneys and cause kidney infections. Untreated UTIs during pregnancy can also potentially cause early labor and low birth weight. Seeking treatment for UTI that isnt going awayor one that keeps coming backis always a good thing.
How Serious Are The Infections In Children
Urinary infections in children usually go away quickly if they get medical care right away. But if your child keeps getting infections, your doctor may suggest tests to rule out more serious problems.
Urinary infections can lead to a serious infection throughout the body called . Problems from a urinary infection are more likely to happen in babies born too soon, in newborns, and in infants who have something blocking the flow of urine.
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What Should I Do If My Antibiotic Doesnt Work For My Urinary Tract Infection
If your symptoms dont improve within a couple of days or get worse after starting an antibiotic you should contact your healthcare provider. A different antibiotic, a longer course of antibiotics or another treatment may be required. A physical exam or urine sample may be required.
When you have a UTI its important to:
- Only take an antibiotic that has been prescribed for you
- Take the antibiotic exactly as instructed by your healthcare provider and finish the full course of treatment even if you feel better
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids
- Urinate or pee regularly
Know Your Uti Risk Factors
If you think that sex causes your recurrent UTIs, you are wrong. If you think its E.coli bacteria, you are wrong again!
In reality, many of us might have the same type of bacteria present in the bladder but only some of us get recurrent and chronic UTIs.
Moreover, women often go underdiagnosed for a long time and your chronic symptoms might not be, in fact, a UTI. It takes a good and attentive doctor to make the right diagnosis and uncover the real reason for chronic UTIs. Many, unfortunately, jump to prescribe a low-dose antibiotic treatment without asking too many questions, and often without a physical exam.
Always seek out a second opinion when your long-term health is at stakes. There are several known health factors that could contribute to a higher risk of UTIs, the list is long and, yet, not conclusive.
The main thing you need to know is that chronic or recurrent UTIs do not happen in isolation, it is a systemic problem and a variety of health factors have to be assessed.
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When To See A Doctor
If youre experiencing symptoms consistent with a urinary tract infectionpainful urination, abdominal discomfort, frequent urge to pee, or blood in your urineseek out medical advice.
Your doctor is a resource to help you understand what type of UTI you have, how severe it is, and the best course of action for treatment. The good news is that your discomfort can be over in a matter of days if you take steps now to address it.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
The Escherichia coli bacteria causes most UTIs .
But heres a surprise:
E. coli is normally found in your intestinal tract.
Sometimes E. coli is accidentally transferred to the bladder through lapses in optimal hygiene.
When normal E. coli gets into your urinary tract and multiplies, you experience the usual signs and symptoms of a UTI.
But if its in your urine, why doesnt the body just flush it out when you urinate?
Because the cell walls of each E. coli are covered with tiny fingerlike projections called fimbria3 allowing them to stick to the inner walls of your bladder and even work their way upward to your urethra and kidneys.
The ultimate way to clear a bladder infection is to PREVENT the little buggers from sticking to your bladder walls.
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What About Antibiotic Resistance
Resistance rates for antibiotics are always variable based on local patterns in the community and specific risk factors for patients, such as recent antibiotic use, hospital stay or travel. If you have taken an antibiotic in the last 3 months or traveled internationally, be sure to tell your doctor.
High rates of antibiotic resistance are being seen with both ampicillin and amoxicillin for cystitis , although amoxicillin/clavulanate may still be an option. Other oral treatments with reported increasing rates of resistance include sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim and the fluoroquinolones. Resistance rates for the oral cephalosporins and amoxicillin/clavulanate are still usually less than 10 percent.
Always finish taking your entire course of antibiotic unless your doctor tells you to stop. Keep taking your antibiotic even if you feel better and you think you don’t need your antibiotic anymore.
If you stop your treatment early, your infection may return quickly and you can develop resistance to the antibiotic you were using previously. Your antibiotic may not work as well the next time you use it.
Why Antibiotics Sometimes Dont Work
Most UTIs arent serious. But if left untreated, the infection can spread up to the kidneys and bloodstream and become life threatening. Kidney infections can lead to kidney damage and kidney scarring.
Symptoms of a UTI usually improve within 2 to 3 days after starting antibiotic therapy. Many doctors prescribe an antibiotic for at least 3 days.
While this type of medication is the standard treatment, researchers are noticing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are reducing the effectiveness of some antibiotics in treating UTIs.
Some UTIs dont clear up after antibiotic therapy. When an antibiotic medication doesnt stop the bacteria from causing an infection, the bacteria continue to multiply.
The overuse or misuse of antibiotics is often the reason for antibiotic resistance. This can happen when the same antibiotic is prescribed over and over again for recurrent UTIs. Because of this risk, experts have been looking for ways to treat UTIs without antibiotics.
Some research has shown that UTIs can be treated without traditional antibiotics by targeting E. colis surface component for adhesion, FimH.
Typically, the urinary tract flushes away bacteria when you urinate. But according to researchers, FimH can cause E. coli to firmly attach to the cells in the urinary tract. And because of this tight grip, its hard for the body to naturally flush the bacteria from the urinary tract.
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Wipe From Front To Back
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , UTIs can develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces gain access to the urethra. This small channel allows urine to flow out of the body.
Once bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up into other urinary tract organs, where they can lead to infections.
After urinating, wipe in a way that prevents bacteria from coming into contact with the genitals. Use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus.
To Recap The Steps To Treat Utis
- Its better to prevent UTIs instead of having to continuously treat UTIs. Look at your lifestyle and see if theres anything that youre doing that could be contributing to UTIs. This may require some detective work . When in doubt, work on strengthening your immune system and overall health you can do this by eating whole foods , taking probiotics, drinking plenty of water, correcting any nutrient deficiencies , limiting exposure to environmental toxins, getting sufficient sleep, lowering stress, being active, reducing food-induced inflammation among other things.
- If you have symptoms of a UTI, go to your doctor or take an at-home UTI test, then treat the UTI ASAP the earlier you treat it, the better. If you can, take another UTI test after treatment to help ensure that the infection is actually gone.
- If you want to treat your UTI without antibiotics, D-mannose shows a lot of promise for UTIs in the few studies that have been conducted so far .
This article was originally published on November 17, 2014, but was updated and re-published on March 10, 2019.
Amanda Austin is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified LEAP Therapist who approaches health and wellness from an integrative and functional perspective. She loves a good DIY, making a mess in the kitchen, and working up a sweat. Shes also obsessed with her incredibly spoiled fur-babies, which includes a rambunctious Boston Terrier, 2 cranky house cats, and 3 boisterous chickens.
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How Long Does It Take For A Uti To Go Away Without Antibiotics Wrap Up
Obviously, there is no specific time given for a UTI to go away without antibiotics but the fact remains that you can speed up the process of curing it if you diligently follow the home remedies stated above. Hope this article has done justice to your question How Long Does It Take For A UTI To Go Away Without Antibiotics?
Three Easy Steps And How To Cure A Uti Without Antibiotics
I have a pretty bad history of not listening to the doctors and what they have to say to me. It is in my blood to refuse most treatment. When I developed a uti my doctors wanted to try all sorts of horrible things on me. Me, all I wanted to do was learn how to cure a uti without antibiotics. Why would I want to learn such a thing? Well the truth behind this is I am pretty sick and tired of using these types of medications. They usually just make me feel worse than I already was. I have also found that antibiotics do not work very well for my condition. I am not really the person with the most luck in my family. I usually have a lot of health problems but I usually stick to the natural remedies for uti. Probably because in my past experience natural medicine has always been better for me than toxic medications and doctors. Having a urinary tract infection sucks, plain and simple. You will almost always be forced to take antibiotics even though they might not work. This is why you should try and fix it in your own home instead of visiting a doctor. Just do what I did, and you will be able to cure it in no time.
3. Extra SleepOne of the best ways to fight any type of infection involves rest. Your body needs some kind of rest to fight the infection and sleeping is your best chance. I have found some excellent advice on this online and found that an extra two hours of sleep a day cam do wonders for fighting your infection.
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What Exactly Is A Uti
Unsurprisingly, a UTI is an infection of the urinary tract. Bacteria has gotten into the urinary tract system, which is normally sterile. To put it in less pleasant terms, when material from the lower intestine gets into your urethra, it causes a bladder infection.
Though that sounds horrid, its not uncommon. Sometimes, it can be caused by a lack of proper hygiene, but most of the time it occurs from sex, using a diaphragm, or just being a woman. The Mayo Clinic lists female anatomy as a risk factor for the illness. So, if youre simply walking around town with a vagina, you very well might get a UTI.
The infection itself might be caused by the E. coli bacteria, which goes up the urethra. Sometimes, it hangs out in this urinary hallway without infecting anywhere else. More often, the bacteria gets into the bladder, causing frequent painful peeing, discharges, blood in your urine, and pelvic discomfort. Its not a good time, but a bladder infection is rarely serious, especially if you get treatment right away.