The Need For Nonantibiotic Management
The armamentarium of effective antibiotics is rapidly diminishing, and the size of this problem cannot be overstated. Resistance to amoxicillin is now 100% among urinary isolates of E. coli in some countries in Africa, and high levels of resistance to many commonly prescribed antibiotics have been identified worldwide. Resistant strains of E. coli, such as ST131 , are associated with outbreaks of UTI, and the widespread emergence and spread of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae is a global public health threat,. Transmissible resistance in Enterobacteriaceae is now emerging against colistin with the potential to rapidly spread. This development means that our drug of last resort for treating infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria is failing, and infection with these multidrug-resistant strains might, therefore, be untreatable with currently available antibiotics.
Fig. 2: Mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance by mobile genetic elements.
We are facing a future in which combination therapy for UTI treatment will be routine, as resistance rates to single agents rise to unacceptable levels worldwide and untreatable UTIs present a real concern. This problem is exacerbated by the overuse of antibiotics, both in humans and in veterinary medicine. To control this crisis in antimicrobial resistance, nonantibiotic approaches are crucial in providing a means of reducing symptoms without resorting to antibiotic use.
How To Prevent Utis
Additionally, there are a few general lifestyle behaviors you can practice to help prevent UTIs before they occur, including:
- When you feel like you have to urinate, go don’t hold it.
- After urinating and especially after a bowel movement, wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering your urethra.
- Urinate before and after having sex.
- Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, or douches.
- Avoid tight pants.
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.
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Do Not Use Hiprex If:
- You are allergic to methenamine hippurate or any of the other ingredients of this medicine
- You are taking antibiotic medicines called sulphonamides. These can damage your kidneys when taken at the same time as Hiprex
- You are severely dehydrated
- You have serious problems with your kidneys
- You have problems with your liver
Decrease Number Of Pathogenic Bacteria
Once you start on a path of combating bacteria biofilms, combine it with a supplement that would help you to reduce the number of free-floating bacteria in your urine to prevent UTI naturally.
Bearberry leaves extracts : It turns out that there is a molecule in Uva-ursi called arbutin that in urinary tract transforms into hydroquinone a natural, potent antibiotic
Buchu: In 1821 this herb was in the British Pharmacopoeia as medicine for cystitis, urethritis, nephritis, and catarrh of the bladder. Later it was included in the US National Formulary for its diuretic and antiseptic properties. Its use since has been abandoned but its an interesting supplement to include in your arsenal to prevent UTI.
Garlic is my go-to antibacterial herb when it comes to dealing with any bacterial infection. Personally, I take it if I feel the first signs of any infection: a sore throat, UTI, flue, etc. I tolerate it well and have used both raw and tablet versions. While clinical studies are lacking to support the efficacy of garlic for UTI prevention, there is still plenty of interesting lab research done with this herb to support its use.
D-Mannose: I mention D-Mannose in almost every blog post. This is a simple sugar molecule that has pretty rare side-effects but delivers great results for many. In fact, there is a clinical study that demonstrated that D-Mannose as effective as a low dose of antibiotics to prevent UTIs. Read more about whats D-Mannose and how to take it.
Initial Symptomatic Relief Followed By Antibiotics If Needed
Empirical treatment of uncomplicated UTI presumes that the benefits of being able to rapidly treat those with UTI outweigh the risks of erroneously treating those without UTI. Empirical treatment is less costly, and likely increases patient satisfaction. Nonetheless, there are hidden costs, particularly the increased risk of antibiotic resistance bacteria within the individual, risk of adverse reaction to the antibiotic, and applying positive selection for resistance on the population level. An alternative strategy is to treat the symptoms, and if they do not resolve, treat using an antibiotic. This strategy was applied in a pilot study conducted in Germany a larger trial is ongoing . The pilot study was a double blind, randomly controlled trial conducted among otherwise healthy women presenting with frequency or dysuria and no complicating factors. Women were randomly assigned to either ibuprofen or ciprofloxacin for 3 days. If the symptoms worsened during the 3 days the drug trial was stopped and antibiotic treatment prescribed. While the study was small there was no significant difference in the proportion symptom free at day 4, or in total symptom score by treatment group. Further, the proportion of women who were given secondary antibiotic treatment due to worsening treatment was not statistically different between the two groups.
Treatment Concerns For Antibiotics
While most UTIs can be effectively managed and treated with a course of antibiotics, more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to different types of antibiotics due to mutations in their genetic code. Every time you take an antibiotic, the bacteria that are in your system are more likely to adapt and mutate and become resistant to the administered antibiotic. And since recurrence rates in the case of UTIs are high, its a strong possibility that an antibiotic may not be effective every time. Many antibiotics such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, and sulfonamides are no longer effective against stronger mutated bacteria and hence are not a good choice for combatting these infections.
Other health risks and adverse effects associated with antibiotics for the treatment of urinary tract infections include extreme allergic reactions and numerous side effects. These can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
Another potential risk of taking antibiotics is that they might destroy some of the good bacteria residing in your system that help with your systematic bodily functions without harming you. The death of these bacteria opens up the passageway to a whole new range of possible infections.
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Is It Safe To Treat Utis Without Antibiotics
Antibiotics are effective treatments for UTIs. Sometimes, the body can resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own, without antibiotics.
Complicated UTIs require medical treatment. These are some factors that can make the infection complicated:
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
If you have ever experienced the frequent urge to go the bathroom with painful and burning urination, you have probably experienced a urinary tract infection . UTIs are one of the most common types of infections, accounting for over 10 million visits to health care providers each year. Roughly 40% of women experience a UTI at some time, and in women, it is the most common infection. Healthcare costs related to UTIs exceed $1.6 billion per year.
A urinary tract infection can happen anywhere along your urinary tract, which includes the kidneys , the ureters , the bladder , or the urethra . Most UTIs occur in the bladder and urethra. Common symptoms include frequent need to urinate, burning while urinating, and pain in lower abdomen area.
There are different types of UTIs based on where the bacteria goes. A lower urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria gets into the urethra and is deposited up into the bladder — this is called cystitis. Infections that get past the bladder and up into the kidneys are called pyelonephritis.
Urinary tract infection symptoms may include:
- Pain or burning upon urination
- A frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Passing small amounts of urine
- Blood in the urine or or pink-stained urine
- Urines that looks cloudy
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pain, cramping in the pelvis or pubic bone area, especially in women
Upper UTIs which include the kidney may also present with symptoms of fever, chills, back or side pain, and nausea or vomiting.
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How Antibiotics Destroy Your Guts
I was a frequent UTI sufferer for many years. I know they arent the nicest things to admit to but given that they affect almost 50% of all women, chances are many of you have struggled as well . The burning pain down there and the need to pee every 2 seconds had me ready to pop an antibiotic almost immediately. I mean, it was just another pesky UTI getting in the way of life that was fixed so easily by a quick course of 7. Little did I know the impact that tiny, toxic, antibiotic pill was having on my gut.
I have written a blog post that has lots of detail on how antibiotics destroy your gut, but to save time, here is a 1 minute summary:
The antibiotics enter into your gut, fight all the bad bacteria that is causing the UTI and during the process also kill off a lot of the good bacteria that your body needs to protect itself against other infections. This means that we lose lots of the good guys that support our immune system and leave ourselves susceptible to more infections by bad bacteria in the future. This course of events are often the beginning of what is commonly referred to as antibiotic-induced IBS , where the dysbiosis in your gut can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, gas and bloating. And so the cycle of infection , and IBS continues… If only I’d known how to get rid of a UTI without antibiotics.
So, why are many practitioners so quick to prescribe antibiotics?
Which Antibiotic Should Be Used To Treat A Uti
There are multiple types of antibiotics used to treat urinary tract infections . Different treatments may be recommended in different areas of the country based on regional patterns of antibiotic resistance.
Most patients with an uncomplicated UTI will begin treatment without any special diagnostic test, although a urinalysis may be performed by taking a urine sample. In a urinalysis, the chemical components of the urine are determined, and the doctor may look at urine color, clarity, and a view a sample under the microscope. A urine culture may be order, too, but is not always needed to start treatment. A urine culture can define the specific bacteria causing the UTI in more complicated cases or in the case of treatment failure.
Symptoms like burning and stinging while urinating will usually clear up in within one day after starting treatment. Be sure to finish your entire course of medication. If symptoms are still present after 2 to 3 days, contact your healthcare provider.
More extensive diagnostic procedures or imaging tests like an X-ray may be required if you continue to have frequent UTIs.
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What Happens When A Uti Is Not Properly Treated
We all know a little something about bacteria. We commonly group bacteria with other pathogens, like viruses, into one big group called germs. And were all aware of the role germs play in illness and infections.
You may not know that bacteria can be found as free-floating cells, or clustered together in communities called biofilms. In an uncomplicated urinary tract infection, free-floating bacteria can be detected in the urine with appropriate testing, then treated with the right antibiotic.
Without fast and effective treatment, bacteria in the bladder may attach to the bladder wall and begin to form a biofilm community. Once attached, the bacterial community generates a slimy protective coating that creates a safe environment and shields it from outside influences.
When a biofilm reaches this stage, it is extremely resistant to antibiotics, as well as the bodys natural defence mechanisms. This is where a chronic infection begins. You might refer to it as recurrent UTI or chronic cystitis the kind of urinary tract infection that just keeps coming back.
Check out our expert video series to learn more about how biofilm contributes to antibiotic resistance in chronic UTI.
|I would have episodes of excruciating pain, blood in my urine and that smell that just tells you that you have a UTI. Then sometimes I would feel practically normal. All the other days in between, I had these niggling symptoms, constantly threatening to blow up at any given moment.
Heal Your Bladder To Prevent Uti Naturally
Healing your bladder lining is a critical step to prevent UTI naturally and minimize the symptoms after an acute infection.
Unfortunately, repeated UTIs could cause chronic inflammation of the bladder lining this reduces the ability of your bladder to defend itself from harmful organisms and makes it more susceptible to new infections.
Its also important to manage inflammation during an active UTI because an early severe inflammation response of your body may predispose you to chronic infections.
Urothelium takes a long time to regenerate, up to 200 days. Keep it in mind when planning your diet and supplement therapy and dont expect results overnight.
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When To See A Doctor For Your Uti
If your symptoms persist beyond a few days with no sign of improvement, or if your infection keeps recurring, its best to see a doctor. While many home remedies may ease symptoms if they persist your doctor will be able to determine the cause and prescribe a course of antibiotics that should help take care of your UTI right away and prevent it from leading to a worsening condition or infection.
Have you tried any of the above natural remedies for UTIs, or other home treatments to treat your urinary tract infection? Tell us about them in the comments below!
How Long Do Utis Last
With antibiotic treatment, symptoms of a UTI typically improve within 2 to 4 days.
But this can vary depending on many factors, including how quickly you receive treatment, the severity of your infection, and whether or not any complications arise.
Keep in mind that the course of antibiotics should be completed for UTI symptoms to completely resolve and prevent recurrent infections.
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What About Antibiotic Resistance
Currently treatment for chronic UTI may involve long courses of antibiotics. New research into chronic UTI suggests that longer courses of antibiotics work to cure infections but do not create antimicrobial resistance. The real gift to resistant bugs are short courses of antibiotics over weeks or months and preventative doses before an infection is detected.
Practice Healthy Hygiene Habits
Preventing UTIs starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, its important not to hold your urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection.
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also 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 using the toilet especially if you have a female urethra make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs.
Benefits of healthy hygiene for UTI
Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Careful wiping when you use the toilet may also help decrease the risk of UTI.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
Here are a few supplements that have been studied and are all available in capsule form:
- D-Mannose.D-Mannose is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries. Research suggests its effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence.
- Cranberry extract. Like cranberry juice, cranberry extract works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
- Garlic extract. shows garlic and garlic extract to have antimicrobial properties, so they it may be able to block the growth of bacteria to prevent UTIs.
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What Is The Standard Treatment For A Uti
Doctors typically use antibiotics to treat UTIs, and the type and duration depend on your health condition and the type of bacterium found in your urine. Commonly prescribed antibiotics are:
These antibiotics are often unnecessary and may cause more problems in the future by destroying the beneficial bacteria that prevent pathogenic bacteria from growing. Long-term use of antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance in strains of bacteria like E. coli in the gut, and a UTI caused by these bacteria will be even more challenging to eliminate and can cause more serious issues like a kidney or bladder infection.
Furthermore, antibiotics do very little to prevent the infection from happening in the first place. So, while drugs may be an easy fix for the short term, in the long run, you will continue to be susceptible to UTIs, and these infections may be worse than if you had never taken a course of antibiotics in the first place!