Could I Fight Utis Without Antibiotics
Three or four UTIs later I was living in a village in Greece. And when I say village, imagine a handful of houses on a hillside by the sea, hours from the nearest hospital.
And when I say houses, imagine a tiny, lovely, concrete box, with an outdoor bathroom beside an olive tree. It was a truly amazing experience, and I loved every minute of it between UTIs.
I sat on the toilet in that outdoor bathroom for a few hours at a time, debating whether to take the antibiotics I had brought with me. I contemplated whether my kidneys were actually disintegrating and coming out through my urethra.
Recurrent urinary tract infections can be terrifying. But once Id had half a dozen, I became dubious about the antibiotics. I looked for answers to questions like, Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?
Maybe my body needed to fight this on its own to get better? Or maybe I would die in a remote village and my parents would have to expatriate my body.
Do I Need To See A Doctor
Yes. Painful urination can be a symptom of a more serious problem. You should tell your doctor about your symptoms and how long youve had them. Tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have, such as diabetes mellitus or AIDS, because these could affect your bodys response to infection. Tell your doctor about any known abnormality in your urinary tract, and if you are or might be pregnant. Tell your doctor if youve had any procedures or surgeries on your urinary tract. He or she also need to know if you were recently hospitalized or stayed in a nursing home.
If your doctor thinks your pain may be from vaginal inflammation, he or she may wipe the lining of your vagina with a swab to collect mucus. The mucus will be looked at under a microscope to see if it has yeast or other organisms. If your pain is from an infection in your urethra , your doctor may swab it to test for bacteria. If an infection cant be found, your doctor may suggest other tests.
What Is A Uti
A UTI refers to an infection in any part of your urinary system, including your kidneys, bladder, and urethra. It most commonly occurs in your lower urinary tract, where the bladder and urethra are located.
Women can be as much as 30 times more likely to develop UTIs than men due to a shorter urethra. This means that bacteria travel more quickly and easily from your urethra to your bladder.
Acute cystitis, in particular, often affects women and triggers bladder inflammation. On its own, a bladder-related infection is painful and bothersome. But if left untreated, it could spread to your kidneys and pose serious consequences.
Note that not all UTIs exhibit signs and symptoms in patients, so its possible to be completely unaware that you have one. When they do present, however, symptoms commonly include:
- Urinating often in small quantities
- A burning sensation when you pee
- A reddish, bright pink, or brownish color
- Strong-smelling or cloudy urine
- Pelvic pain , especially in the center of your pelvis and near your pubic bone
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Pain or pressure in your lower abdomen
- Fever or chills
The three different types of UTIs are as follows:
Its an inflammation of your urethra. Symptoms include a discharge from your urethra and burning urination.
Bladder inflammation thats marked by painful, burning urination and cloudy urine, as well as a frequent need to pee.
- ephalexin ceftriaxone
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When Should Symptoms Disappear
The length of treatment for your symptoms will depend on the cause.
If your doctor confirms that you have a simple UTI, expect symptoms to disappear within 3-10 days. If your doctor says your UTI is more severe, it may take several weeks for the infection to clear and your symptoms to disappear.
If the cause of your symptoms is unrelated to a UTI, talk to your doctor about the recommended treatment plan and when you can expect your symptoms to disappear.
Regardless of the cause of your symptoms, if your doctor prescribes a course of antibiotics for the treatment of your symptoms, its important that you complete the full course of medication as directed.
Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections After Antibiotic Treatment
Antibiotics are the usual treatment that can help resolve the symptoms of UTI. Aside from that, procedures like those from a dental clinic may require taking antibiotics beforehand. However, some cases still show UTI symptoms even after taking antibiotic treatment. Below are the potential reasons why it can happen.
1. Antibiotic Resistance
A patient can become antibiotic-resistant when the bacteria causing the UTI do not respond to the applied antibiotics. In actuality, it results from the frequent administration of antibiotics. For example, the patient has chronic UTIs. It will then affect the evolution of the bacteria, making them antibiotic-resistant.
2. Wrong Antibiotics
The course of antibiotics differ from one another, and each antibiotic treats different infections. If the antibiotic is not proper for the bacteria strain causing UTIs, then it will become ineffective. Generally speaking, E. coli is the typical bacteria that cause UTIs. But then again, other bacteria strains, viruses, or fungi can also be a reason behind it.
3. Underlying Conditions
It is also possible that antibiotics are not working because the patient doesnt have UTI in the first place. The reason behind it could be an underlying health condition that shows UTI-like symptoms. These conditions include the following.
- Bladder irritation
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Are Antibiotics Effective Against Uti
Antibiotics can quickly relieve the symptoms of UTI. According to one study, people who took antibiotics felt better fairly quickly:
- Pain and burning resolved within 1-3 days.
- After one week, symptoms resolved in about 60% of the patients.
Some people may experience side effects from taking antibiotics, which include:
My First Uti Gave No Hint Of The Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Ahead
If I could start this process again I would do it differently.
I had my first UTI at 23. The after-hours doctor asked, Are you sure you dont have your period? clearly unaware of the danger created by patronizing a female in the midst of a UTI.
I managed to stay calm and suppress the urge to retort, You think I cant tell the difference between my period and blood coming out of my urethra?? .
All I wanted was something to fix the pain, and for him to leave my sight immediately. He delivered in both respects.
The antibiotics worked within a few hours and I never thought about it again Until nine years later.
As it turns out, I was really good at getting UTIs. If getting UTIs was a desirable skill, I nailed that skill for five years, with barely a break.
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What Does It Mean If Your Uti Symptoms Are Getting Worse Even Though Youve Already Taken Four Or Six Antibiotic Pills
Does this mean you dont have a urinary tract infection after all, but some other condition?
And is it just a coincidence that the urinalysis showed trace amounts of bacteria and leukocyte esterase?
UTIs may get worse while taking an antibiotic for several reasons, says Michael Ingber, MD, board certified in urology, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, and founder of The Center for Specialized Womens Health, division of Garden State Urology.
First, it does take some time, typically several hours, before the antibiotic is absorbed into the system and before it gets into the bladder, continues Dr. Ingber.
Second, the antibiotic sometimes may not be effective. In cases of resistant UTI, symptoms may worsen.
This is why, typically, I instruct women to contact me should their symptoms persist or worsen after 2-3 doses of the antibiotic.
Thus, no improvement after only one day is nothing to fret about.
What Are Treatment Options For Ic
There is not a single treatment that works for everyone. There are two FDA-approved treatments for IC: an oral medication called pentosan polysulfate sodium and a once-weekly treatment where dimethyl sulfoxide is placed directly into the bladder through a catheter. However, some doctors may try other treatments if their patients don’t respond to these medications.
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About Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are common infections that can affect the bladder, the kidneys and the tubes connected to them.
Anyone can get them, but they’re particularly common in women. Some women experience them regularly .
UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, but usually pass within a few days and can be easily treated with antibiotics.
This page is about UTIs in adults. There is a separate article about UTIs in children.
This page covers:
Can Uti Symptoms Linger After Antibiotic Treatment
A urinary tract infection is an infection caused by bacterial growth that occurs in any part of the urinary tract, though most UTIs occur in the lower urinary tract .
This type of UTI is referred to as a simple, or uncomplicated, UTI. If the infection spreads to your upper urinary tract, it can cause a kidney infection.
In some cases, a kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis, can be life-threatening.
The most common symptom of a UTI is frequent urination, but signs can also include a burning or painful sensation when urinating, cloudy urine, blood in urine, back pain, and pelvic pain.
Women in menopause or postmenopause may sometimes have a UTI without experiencing any symptoms.
Its important to speak to a medical provider to determine whether you have a UTI, especially if its your first time experiencing symptoms.
In most cases, antibiotic treatment will clear the infection and resolve your symptoms within 3-10 days. There are some conditions, however, that can cause your symptoms to linger after treatment:
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How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Here are some simple tips that you can do to avoid UTIs. Applying them will be beneficial.
- The very first thing that you should maintain is to drink plenty of water. Water is the best way to flush out the bacteria causing UTI. Other individuals prefer drinking cranberry juice. However, it is still necessary to consult with the doctor, especially those taking warfarin .
- Never hold your urine. It would be best to urinate when you felt the need to. It is a habit we need to teach our children.
- After bowel movements, wipe from front to back direction.
- Additionally, urinating after a sexual interaction is necessary to wash away the bacteria.
- Moreover, it would be best to ask your doctor the best birth control method.
- Meanwhile, wearing loose-fitting clothes, including pants, would be better.
- Lastly, uncircumcised boys should learn how to wash the foreskin properly.
Generally speaking, it is also essential to practice good hygiene. Eating a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables may also help prevent UTI.
Urinary Tract Infection, Familydoctor.org, Updated October 30, 2018,
What is a Urinary Tract Infection in Adults?, Urologyhealth.org, Updated April 2019,
Check If It’s A Urinary Tract Infection
Symptoms of a UTI may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night
- pee that looks cloudy
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
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Diet And Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
I researched Candida , and quickly cut all processed sugar, fruits and grains from my diet. I was running and swimming every day, and avoided alcohol.
My digestive symptoms subsided somewhat, but the constant yeast infections and UTIs still plagued me.
After three months in Greece it was time to move to Berlin. While packing my bags, I made sure to take those UTIs with me
I became acquainted with the German healthcare system pretty quickly. This meant finding a doctor who was willing to give me antibiotics whenever I got a UTI, and an extra prescription so I could self-administer them next time.
He also sent my urine to a lab a number of times . Every time wed get the results it would show raised leukocyte levels, and insignificant levels of bacteria or contamination, but generally nothing to report.
According to the lab, I didnt have a UTI. According to what I knew about my own body, I did, and it would not go away.
The one thing the lab could easily identify was an overgrowth of vaginal yeast. By this stage, my digestive symptoms had returned to 24 hour a day abdominal pain. I had this low down, solid abdominal bloating that would not subside.
So I further restricted my diet. I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, and implemented an intermittent fasting approach.
What Else Can You Do When Antibiotics Fail
When it comes to the best treatment for recurrent chronic UTIs there are two main camps.
Some physicians prefer a long-term antibiotic treatment protocol, frequently prescribing a variety of antibiotics over the course of several months .
Others advocate for the mindful use of antibiotics and focus on correcting underlying dysbiosis as the main reason for recurrent UTIs. In fact, we are still learning about the human microbiome and the effect bacteria have on our health and it seems less and less probable that antibiotics alone could solve chronic issues.
Moreover, antibiotics were developed when we thought that a healthy bladder is sterile which we now know is far from the truth.
What is the best approach to cure a chronic UTI? Here is a selection of posts that can help you to get up to speed:
How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics. To help avoid the recurrence of a UTI, it is important to ensure that the full antibiotic course is completed.
Can UTI symptoms linger after antibiotic treatment?
If antibiotic treatment has been effective, UTI symptoms should be fully resolved. When symptoms persist at completion of the prescribed antibiotic course, further tests and treatment will be necessary. This may involve culturing a urine sample to determine which antibiotic types are effective against the infecting bacteria, and the use of diagnostic imaging to check the urinary tract.
How long can a UTI go untreated?
If you ever see blood in your urine or are concerned about other UTI signs and symptoms, contact your doctor. Seeking treatment promptly not only decreases the chance of UTI-related complications, but also helps to avoid extended periods of misdiagnosis if your symptoms are not being caused by a UTI.
If symptoms such as back pain, fever, and nausea/vomiting are present always seek urgent treatment, because of the risk of permanent kidney damage and/or life-threatening complications.
When It Feels Like A Uti But Its Not
Interstitial cystitis , the condition I wrote about in Is it a UTI or something else, can seem like a chronic urinary tract infection.
But unlike a UTI, no bacterial infection is present. All the other annoying symptoms are however especially the frequent and often painful urination.
It often hits around the age of 40 and nearly one million Americans suffer from it 90 percent of them are women. But there is relief
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Bacteria Hide In Your Bladder Lining
One interesting fact from Dr. Hawes: during bladder cystoscopy of chronic UTI patients she frequently sees pimples on their bladder surface. The correct medical term is Cystitis cystica, which is a benign lesion of the bladder as a result of chronic inflammation.
These pimples are thought to be caused by chronic irritation of the urothelium because of infection, calculi, obstruction, or tumor.
Per Dr. Hawes, a biopsy of these pimples typically comes back with results of bacterial contamination. Basically, bacteria comfortably reside inside of these pimples on a bladder wall. The worst thing, they can reappear from time to time to cause yet another infection. Thats why you notice that UTI symptoms come back after antibiotics.
If thats the case, Dr. Hawes identifies the type of bacteria via a culture test and which antibiotic bacteria are susceptive to. After that, she combines short-term intensive antibiotic therapy with long-term low dose antibiotics. This normally kills bacteria that keep reappearing out of the cysts into your bladder.
Many thanks to Dr. Lisa Hawes who took the time off her weekend to share these insights. We hope this information will help you when discussing a treatment plan with your urologist. And if you are happened to be in Maryland, here is the contact information for Dr. Hawes practice.
How Am I Since Completing My Uti Recovery
I still have that counter. At the time I write this, I am 625 days UTI free. But its no longer important. I keep it as a memento of what I went through, and what it took to get past it.
UPDATE 2020: My counter is now at 1701 days since I overcame my experience with chronic UTI. The regimen that I implemented at the beginning of this journey resulted in a long term remission from UTIs. I say remission because I know it will always be possible for me to get another UTI. My urinary tract isnt impervious to bacteria, just as my sinus isnt impervious to a cold or flu. But, I was able to stop taking all the supplements I started, and continue only with basic vitamins that proved essential due to my particular diet. I have never again experienced the ongoing pain and symptoms I experienced then . I do have a story about food poisoning in Asia that led to urinary tract symptoms, but thats for another time .
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