When You Need Themand When You Dont
Antibiotics are medicines that can kill bacteria. Doctors often use antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections . The main symptoms of UTIs are:
- A burning feeling when you urinate.
- A strong urge to urinate often.
However, many older people get UTI treatment even though they do not have these symptoms. This can do more harm than good. Heres why:
Antibiotics usually dont help when there are no UTI symptoms.
Older people often have some bacteria in their urine. This does not mean they have a UTI. But doctors may find the bacteria in a routine test and give antibiotics anyway.
The antibiotic does not help these patients.
- It does not prevent UTIs.
- It does not help bladder control.
- It does not help memory problems or balance.
Most older people should not be tested or treated for a UTI unless they have UTI symptoms. And if you do have a UTI and get treated, you usually dont need another test to find out if you are cured. You should only get tested or treated if UTI symptoms come back.
Antibiotics have side effects.
Antibiotics can have side effects, such as fever, rash, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, tendon ruptures, and nerve damage.
Antibiotics can cause future problems.
Antibiotics can kill friendly germs in the body. This can lead to vaginal yeast infections. It can also lead to other infections, and severe diarrhea, hospitalization, and even death.
Antibiotics can be a waste of money.
When should older people take antibiotics for a UTI?
What Type Of Bacteria Usually Cause Urinary Tract Infections
The most common bacterial cause of UTIs are E coli. These bacteria usually live harmlessly in the gut of healthy people but can cause problems if they get into the bladder or other parts of the urinary tract. Uncomplicated infection of the bladder, also called cystitis, is common and can be very painful.
Some strains of E. coli bacteria have begun to produce enzymes called extended-spectrum beta-lactamases . These can make the bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics, and so the bacteria continue to multiply and spread. This causes more severe infection which becomes much more difficult to treat. Another type of bacteria which often causes antibiotic resistant UTIs is ESBL klebsiella pneumoniae. You can read more about extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing bacteria here.
E. coli belongs to the Enterobacteriaceae family of Gram-negative bacteria. This family of bacteria also include klebsiella pneumoniae and enterobacter cloacae. The Enterobacteriaceae family can all cause UTIs and are often treated with the beta-lactam antibiotic, carbapenem, for which there are specific ESBL enzymes. The carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae that have developed, have become a real risk to health as the main antibiotic becomes useless and their presence increases in hospitals and care settings.
Get Uti Treatment Today With K Health
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Whats Next When Uti Symptoms Linger After Antibiotics
If you have a UTI that isnt responding to antibiotic treatment, further testing will likely begin with a urine culture to analyze the bacteria causing the infection.
If another type of bacteria, fungi, or virus is responsible for your UTI, your doctor will prescribe a more appropriate treatment.
There are also some lifestyle changes that can help reduce the frequency of UTIs, as well as the severity of your symptoms.
Its important to note that these recommendations work best for UTIs, bladder infections, and kidney infections, as these three conditions are treated similarly.
If youve been diagnosed with another underlying condition thats causing your symptoms, your treatment will likely be different.
research has suggested that UTI frequency may be linked to an increase in bladder cancer risk. However, the research on this is sparse.
But that doesnt mean there isnt a link between UTI-like symptoms and cancer. In fact, there are two types of cancer that can cause UTI-like symptoms: bladder cancer and prostate cancer.
If youre experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, talk to your doctor so a proper diagnosis can be made.
How Long Should A Uti Last After Antibiotics
For most cases of uncomplicated urinary tract infections , you will need to take a 3-day course of antibiotics and make sure to stay hydrated. Some infections, however, may require longer treatment for up to 7-10 days. For complicated UTIs, your course of antibiotics may extend up to 2 weeks or more. How long it takes to recover depends on:
- What bacteria is causing the infection
- What type of drug is used
- Your medical history
Symptoms like pain and the need to urinate often may resolve pretty quickly after starting antibiotics. But its important to complete the entire course of antibiotics to make sure the infection is completely gone, because it can stay in your body for a while.
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Is Treatment For Cystitis Different From A Uti
Sometimes. The most common cause of cystitis is an infection, so in those cases the treatment is the same as with any UTI. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. If the cystitis is not caused by an infection, your healthcare provider may recommend medications to help reduce the symptoms, like pain relievers, as well as lifestyle changes. Mild cases of cystitis may heal on their own.
Taking The Wrong Antibiotic Or Taking Them The Wrong Way
Antibiotics are medications that attack bacteria. Since UTIs are caused by bacteria, your doctor may give you an antibiotic to make the infection go away.
Sometimes, the medicine is not good at fighting the infection. If you take the medicine and still feel sick, tell your doctor. There is more than one UTI treatment. If the first one does not work, you can try a different one.
In one study, researchers looked at 670,450 women with UTIs. About half of the women were given an antibiotic that did not work. Many of the women also took the medications longer than was needed to make the infection go away.
You might get the right medication but make a mistake when you take it. If you take the medication the wrong way, your symptoms might not get better. You could also get a UTI again or get a worse infection.
Here are some important things to know about taking antibiotics for a UTI:
- Keep taking your antibiotics even if you start feeling better. You need to take all the doses to make sure the infection goes away. Do not “save” any of the medicine for later.
- Only take the medicine your doctor gave to you.
- Do not give your antibiotics to other people.
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Uti Symptoms Think Quick Grab A Urinary Pain Reliever
When you suddenly feel the typical symptoms of a UTI, grab an over-the-counter urinary pain reliever with Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride to help relieve those symptoms fast. Then immediately head to the doctor to determine if it actually is a UTI. For many, UTI symptoms include urinating often, burning and strong odor in your pee, blood in the urine and soreness or a feeling of fullness in the bladder or lower back.2 Sounds awful, right? Dont even THINK about treating a possible urinary tract infection without the help of a medical professional. The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections can multiply at a frightening rate so make moves fast!
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.
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Why Some Women Get Recurrent Utis
The infections are usually caused by Escherichia coli, a bacterium that lives in the intestinal system. If E. coli are carried from the rectum to the vagina, they can enter the urethra and infect the bladder.
Risk factors for UTI vary with age. Before menopause, the most common risk factors are sexual intercourse and use of spermicides. It’s thought that sex increases the number of bacteria in the bladder, and many experts advise women to urinate after sex to flush them out. Spermicides may kill off Lactobacilli, beneficial bacteria in the vagina, making it easier for E. coli to move in.
After menopause, certain physical changes help set the stage for UTIs. The numbers of Lactobacilli in the vagina naturally decline. The bladder also contracts less strongly than it once did, making it more difficult to empty it completely.
In both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, genes play a role as well. Having a mother or sister who has frequent UTIs is also a risk factor.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Antibiotic
You can find out more about the symptoms of a UTI on our common infections page. The main difference between a regular UTI and an antibiotic-resistant UTI is that the medicines usually used to treat such infections do not often work against antibiotic-resistant UTIs. While the antibiotics may appear to work at first, they are only killing those bacteria sensitive to the antibiotic, but not dealing with the resistant organisms. This means it is really important that if antibiotic resistant bacteria are present, they are diagnosed and identified as early as possible so the right antibiotics are used to kill them.
To identify if you have a UTI, your doctor will usually ask you to provide a urine sample which they will test with a dip stick. This is a quick way to establish if you have a urine infection. If positive, then a sample of your urine will normally be sent to the local microbiology laboratory for testing.
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Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you, your child or someone you care for may have a urinary tract infection and:
- a very high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
- are confused, drowsy or have difficulty speaking
- have not been for a pee all day
- have pain in the lower tummy or in the back, just under the ribs
- can see blood in their pee
These symptoms could mean you have a kidney infection, which can be serious if it’s not treated as it could cause .
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Balance Your Protein With Fruits And Veggies
Studies suggest that people whose diet is high in fruits and vegetables tend to have a lower incidence of kidney stones. One reason may be that animal protein makes the urine more acidic, which can contribute to stones. Note: You dont have to give up meat to prevent kidney stones. Rather, balance out the acidity by eating lots of alkaline-forming fruits and veggies.
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Get Moderate Amounts Of Calcium
Even though most kidney stones consist of calcium oxalate, this does not mean you should avoid calcium. Calcium is important for bone strength. You should still get your daily recommended amount of calcium. Stones form when calcium binds to oxalate. You can prevent this from happening by drinking enough fluids to avoid concentrating these minerals in your urine, or decrease the amount of oxalate in your diet.
What Supplements I Used
Based on what I read in books and researched on the Internet, I used the supplements and products listed below:
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin : It coats the GAG layer, giving it a chance to heal.
- Calcium Citrate + Vitamin D : It helps your body excrete oxalates more efficiently, which helps prevent vulvodynia, an associated condition that is also very unpleasant.
- Bromelain : Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory enzyme.
- Quercetin : Quercetin is another anti-inflammatory agent.
- Prelief: Prelief is an antacid that you can take before eating acidic foods. I would not recommend eating highly acidic foods, even with it, until you get your symptoms somewhat under control.
You might want to start off with the glucosamine and chondroitin and work your way down the list. Add one supplement at a time and wait a few days before adding the next one, just to make sure its not a trigger for you. I used 21st Century Glucosamine 250 mg and Chondroitin 200 mg, just because it didnt have a lot of extra ingredients in it. I dont think the brand matters so much, but look out for added vitamin C in some of them.
One prescription medication I took for a short time that helped me was Ditropan . It is supposed to relax your bladder muscles to prevent urgent, frequent urination. At first, I was taking 5 mg a day, and it wasnt helping. But when my doctor raised it to 10 mg a day, it gave me some relief.
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Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
If you are a healthy adult man or a woman who is not pregnant, a few days of antibiotic pills will usually cure your urinary tract infection. If you are pregnant, your doctor will prescribe a medicine that is safe for you and the baby. Usually, symptoms of the infection go away 1 to 2 days after you start taking the medicine. Its important that you follow your doctors instructions for taking the medicine, even if you start to feel better. Skipping pills could make the treatment less effective.
Your doctor may also suggest a medicine to numb your urinary tract and make you feel better while the antibiotic starts to work. The medicine makes your urine turn bright orange, so dont be alarmed by the color when you urinate.
What To Do When Uti Symptoms Linger After Treatment
If your UTI symptoms persist even after completing the treatment course recommended by your provider, reach out to your doctor for additional testing and information.
Depending on your symptoms and history, your doctor or healthcare provider may choose to do a urine culture or order additional tests, such as a pelvic ultrasound or computed tomography scan, to better diagnose the underlying condition.
In the meantime, there are several things you can do to help soothe or lessen the severity of your symptoms.
Some of these practices may also help prevent future UTIs.
- Practice good bathroom hygiene: Practicing good urination and bowel movement hygiene can help prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract. Hygiene recommendations include not holding your urine for too long when you feel the need or urge to urinate. In addition, women and people with vaginas should always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement, and should urinate soon after sexual intercourse.
- Stay well hydrated: Drink plenty of water and urinate regularly. This can help to flush out the harmful bacteria in your system. Research shows that increasing your daily water intake can decrease your risk for recurrent UTIs.
- Avoid scented or irritating products: You may enjoy the smell, but scented tampons, pads, bubble baths, toilet paper, spermicides, deodorants, and laundry detergents can throw off the balance of bacteria in the vagina, which can cause irritation or infection.
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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.
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Statistics Around Frequent Utis
While the statistics around chronic urinary tract infections are hard to find, we do know that:
- 30-44% of females with an initial UTI will experience a second UTI. And with each UTI, the risk of another UTI increases.
- Frequent UTIs may be caused by multiple organisms simultaneously.
- A significant proportion of our quiz respondents have suffered 7+ UTIs, with a recurrence every 1-3 months.
- Our own data indicate that most females who experience recurrent UTIs do so despite standard antibiotic treatment.
- Testing and treatment guidelines for chronic urinary tract infections are inadequate or do not exist in most parts of the world. This means even when doctors want to help, they generally dont have the resources or guidance they need to be able to.
- One study found that 74% of females diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis had previously been diagnosed with recurrent UTIs. Interstitial Cystitis is a painful set of urinary tract symptoms with no identified cause and no known cure.
- 93% of the females included in the above study had also received negative test results after having their urine cultured .
In short, a significant number of females move through escalating stages of diagnosis as antibiotic treatment fails to cure them and testing fails to find a cause.
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