Antibiotic Overuse Leads To Antibiotic Resistance
At some point, most people have taken a course of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or ciprofloxacin , two common antibiotics used for UTIs. However, in the last few years it has become clear that the likelihood these antibiotics will kill most UTIs is dropping rapidly. You may have read the recent, frightening New York Timesarticle reporting one in three uncomplicated UTIs in young healthy women are Bactrim-resistant and one in five are resistant to five other common antibiotics. Pretty scary, since we used to feel confident that writing a prescription for Bactrim was a sure recipe for cure.
How is it that we are losing the antibiotic war with bacteria? Though many things drive bacterial resistance, giving antibiotics to animals and antibiotic overuse in humans top the list.
We use a lot of antibiotics in humans too much, and not always for the right reasons. When we prescribe antibiotics for viral illnesses like a cold, the flu, or common sinusitis, we create a massive shift in the bodys bacteria for no good reason .
When To Contact A Doctor
If a person suspects that they have a UTI, they should ask a healthcare professional for advice about the best way to treat it.
Antibiotics may not always be necessary, but it is still important to seek medical attention. This reduces the risk of developing a more severe infection that is harder to treat.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about treating UTIs.
What To Do Next
If antibiotic treatment does not reduce the patients UTI symptoms, the doctor may perform other tests. The doctor is most likely to do a urine culture and sensitivity test to know what causes the infection. In effect, they could prescribe the most appropriate treatment.
The doctor may also require additional tests related to underlying conditions, such as a pelvic ultrasound or a computed tomography scan. This way, it would be easier for the doctor to find out the potential causes further.
Meanwhile, dental procedures may often require antibiotics before surgery. So, it would be best to take care of our teeth. Dental providers are everywhere . For this reason, lets make it a part of our routine to visit the dentists regularly.
Also Check: Heal Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
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!
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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What Are Myths About At
Popular at-home methods for treating or preventing UTIs include: increasing how often you urinate, wearing certain types of underwear, avoiding hot tubs and bubble baths, urinating after intercourse and wiping away from the urethra. Douching is not a recommended treatment for UTIs as it can cause additional issues for the reproductive system. There is no evidence to support the efficacy of these behaviors however, there is little harm in using them.
Probiotics, cranberries, vitamin C and D-mannose are all supplements that have been studied for their potential to prevent urinary tract infections. There is a plausible mechanism for each of them however, studies have not consistently shown marked benefit. More evidence is needed to make a final recommendation for or against their use or efficacy. Cranberry extract pills are more likely to be helpful than cranberry juice, since cranberry pills do not have the sugar that juice contains. Cranberry can contribute to heartburn and gastrointestinal upset.
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Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you or someone else has cystitis and:
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a low temperature, or shaking and shivering
- pain in the lower tummy or in the back, just under the ribs
- are confused, drowsy or have difficulty speaking
- are feeling or being sick
- have not had a pee all day
- blood in your pee
These symptoms could mean you have a kidney infection, which can be serious if its not treated as it could cause .
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
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Antibiotics That Shouldnt Be A First Choice For Uncomplicated Utis
Other antibiotics appear to be overused, and some physicians may misuse non-recommended antibiotics as first-line treatments. Ciprofloxacin is used in 35% of uncomplicated UTIs, while levofloxacin is used in 2%. These antibiotics can be important treatments in some cases of more complicated UTIs, but can have dangerous side effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that the use of these drugs should be restricted because of their potentially disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system. Additionally, in many parts of the country, bacteria commonly causing UTIs are becoming resistant to these antibiotics.
Read Also: Strep Throat Cure No Antibiotics
When Uti Treatment Is Necessary
If youre experiencing multiple symptoms of a UTI and we have confirmed that you have abnormal bacteria growth in the urinary tract, antibiotics usually are the most effective way to fight off the bacteria. The dosage and type of antibiotics you take depend on the severity of your infection. Make sure to speak to your doctor about your particular situation and what medication would be best for you.
If youre experiencing recurrent UTIs , your doctor will likely suggest you undergo screenings to identify any potential abnormalities in the body that could be contributing to your UTIs. One such screening is a cystoscopy, in which a doctor uses a thin tube called a cystoscope to examine your urethra and the lining of your bladder.
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Benefits Of Antibiotics For Utis
Antibiotics are the standard treatment for UTIs because they kill the bacteria responsible for the infections. Most UTIs develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract from outside the body. The species most likely to cause UTIs include:
- E. coli, which cause of up to
- abnormal liver function, as indicated with testing
More severe risks of using antibiotics include:
How Long Does A Uti Last
The common treatment for UTI is a course of prescribed antibiotics. In terms of how long a UTI lasts, you can expect it to go away completely while taking antibiotics for a week. However, youll probably notice signs your UTI is going away even a day or two after starting the treatment. Just make sure that you continue taking the prescribed amount of antibiotics for as long as the doctor instructed. During this time, its recommended to drink a lot of water and sustain from engaging in sexual intercourse.
Some bacteria might not react to a certain type of antibiotics, but thats no reason to despair. If you dont notice any signs your UTI is going away even after three days of antibiotics treatment, report it to your doctor, and they will prescribe another kind of antibiotics. This isnt too uncommon, and doctors are generally familiar with the right course of action when presented with this situation.
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Is It My Fault That I Keep Getting Utis
Even the second or third time you get a UTI it can seem like a bit of a coincidence. The words recurrent urinary tract infections dont really register at this stage. You figure you just havent been sleeping enough.
Or maybe youve been fighting a virus and your immune system is just having a rough time.
Denial is probably the most accurate word for this phase. I was just so certain the antibiotics would work every time. Even though they didnt.
Selling my business and packing up my life for a move overseas was my priority, and the frequent trips to the doctor for antibiotics were more of a nuisance than cause for concern.
I thought I was being responsible when I asked my doctor for antibiotics to take abroad with me in case I got another UTI. That optimism is almost laughable now.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Although urinating can be painful when you have a UTI, its important to drink as many fluids as possible particularly water. Most adults should aim to drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
The more you drink, the more youll urinate, which can help flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
Also Check: Do I Need A Prescription For Antibiotics
Other Ways To Prevent Some Utis Coming Back
If you keep getting a bladder infection , there is some evidence it may be helpful to take:
- D-mannose a sugar you can buy as a powder or tablets to take every day
- cranberry products available as juice, tablets or capsules to take every day
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
If you’re taking warfarin, you should avoid cranberry products.
Page last reviewed: 22 March 2022 Next review due: 22 March 2025
Get Uti Treatment Today With K Health
Did you know that you can get UTI treatment online through K Health?
We have clinicians available 24/7 to get you the care or medication that you need.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
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How Do I Know If The Treatment Isnt Working
If the treatment isnt working, your symptoms will stay the same, get worse, or you will develop new symptoms. Call your doctor if you have a fever , chills, lower stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. You should also call your doctor if, after taking medicine for 3 days, you still have a burning feeling when you urinate. If you are pregnant, you should also call your doctor if you have any contractions.
Discuss With Your Doctor If Some Of Your Uti Symptoms Persist After Antibiotics
Here are several questions that you should think about prior to your doctor visit to help your physician with the right information:
- Are your symptoms stronger when the bladder is full and you feel better after urination?
- Does a certain position trigger bladder pain?
- Do you feel that your symptoms stay the same over the course of days and even weeks?
- Is there blood in your urine, foul smell, or is your urine cloudy?
- If youd like more help on how to discuss your UTI with your provider and how to make the most out of your patient-doctor relationships, check out my Actionable Guide here.
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When Do Uti Symptoms Disappear
As previously mentioned, antibiotics should help dissipate your UTI symptoms within one to two days. Your doctor might prescribe a treatment plan lasting anywhere from 3 to 14 days.
If youve been battling more severe UTI symptoms, such as low-grade fever or lower back pain, the process could take slightly longer. While mild improvements should be spotted in the first couple of days, your infection will likely need up to one week to completely go away.
I Refused To Accept Utis As My Future
Its not in my nature to learn to deal with something that I know shouldnt be. There is no way my body is built to crumble at the first hint of sex, or fatigue, or dehydration. Ive always been stronger than that.
Im pretty good at knowing exactly what is happening in my body and when. Ive accurately diagnosed myself with injuries that have taken years to show up in scans. Im my very own body whisperer.
So when this happened, it was a virtual kick in the guts, or more specifically, the bladder.
Getting a UTI every few weeks or months doesnt give you much breathing room to feel human. To get things done.
There is a constant shadow hanging over you. Restaurant and bar reconnaissance isnt about people anymore. Its about toilets. You learn to scope out any venue for its bathrooms. At any given moment, I could tell you where the nearest public toilet was.
I never went anywhere without a remedy in my bag. For me, that meant carrying antibiotics 24 hours a day.
Holiday planning came with underlying anxiety, and relationships dont even get me started on how recurrent urinary tract infections impact those.
Too late Im on a roll.
Read Also: World Health Organization Antibiotic Resistance
Other Potential Contributors Of Developing Uti
Aside from the causes mentioned, a person may also have a higher risk of developing UTI due to the following factors.
- abnormal anatomy
- weak immune system
In the final analysis, we have several reasons for us to develop UTI. If we do not work these out, the risk will increase even more. For this reason, it would be best to ask the doctor for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment to address UTIs as soon as possible.
Generally speaking, it would be best to prevent it in the first place instead of receiving treatment. Prevention is always better than cure. You can always do something to prevent yourself from incurring any health issues. That includes the prevention of UTI.
Do You Need To See A Doctor To Get Antibiotics For A Uti
You need to speak with your doctor or a licensed medical professional to be prescribed antibiotics for a UTI. This can usually be done in person, at the doctor, or over the phone.
If this is your first UTI or your symptoms are severe, it may be helpful to get treated in person. You may also want to consider an in-person visit with your healthcare professional to rule out sexually transmitted infections if you are sexually active or have multiple sexual partners.
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Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Are More Common Than You Think
Even after I broke the cycle of recurrent urinary tract infections, I never stopped researching.
Id been full circle through wondering what was wrong with me, to wondering what was wrong with doctors, to being furious at yet another female health issue overlooked by the healthcare industry, to wanting to do something about it.
And here we are. We created this website so you wouldnt have to look so far and wide for helpful information.
Weve done our best to break recurrent UTI into the pieces of the puzzle you need to understand in order to get well:
Check If It’s A Urinary Tract Infection
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night
- pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
- 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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Option #: Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance
Have you taken all prescribed antibiotics but your symptoms are only getting worse? It could be that your bacteria are resistant to this type of drug.
You might have heard about superbug bacteria that withstand all available antibiotics. Well, increasingly, bacterial resistance is a real-life problem that physicians facing more often than before.
Here are the main signs that could signal that your bacteria are resistant to the prescribed medication:
- You are feeling worse, while youve been taking antibiotics diligently for over 48 hours.
- You are experiencing fever or nausea .
Realistically, you should feel much better by the third day of an antibiotic treatment, the bacterial load should be lowered, and therefore symptoms should subside, says Dr. Lisa Hawes even if not all symptoms resolved, you definitely should not have cloudiness, odor, or blood in your urine 48 hours after starting antibiotics.