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?
Does Cranberry Juice Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
Many people say that cranberry juice can help treat, or even prevent, a UTI. Researchers are currently looking into the topic, but havent found a definitive answer yet. Healthcare providers recommend drinking lots of fluids if you have, or have a history of getting, a UTI. Adding a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice to your diet isnt a proven way to prevent a UTI, but it typically wont hurt you either.
What Are The Types Of Utis
UTIs are categorized into two types.
Complicated UTIs refer to infections associated with another condition. Often, that underlying condition makes the UTI worse because it may involve pre-existing kidney or bladder problems. If left untreated, complicated UTIs can lead to severe, permanent kidney damage.
The other category of UTIs is an uncomplicated UTI. These occur in individuals who are otherwise healthy and do not have abnormalities in their urinary tract. Uncomplicated UTIs tend to be recurring. They are categorized based on where the infection develops along the urinary tract. If it develops in the bladder, its called cystitis if it grows in the kidney, its called pyelonephritis .
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Use Of Antibiotics For Treating Utis In Dogs And Cats
Dr. Foster is an internist and Director of the Extracorporeal Therapies Service at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. He has lectured around the world on various renal and urinary diseases and authored numerous manuscripts and book chapters on these topics. He is the current president of the American Society of Veterinary Nephrology and Urology.
Urinary tract infections are common in small animal practice it has been reported that up to 27% of dogs will develop infection at some time in their lives.1
Most UTIs are successfully treated with commonly used drugs, dosages, and administration intervals. However, infections can be challenging to effectively treat when they involve the kidneys and prostate . In addition, it can be difficult to create an appropriate antibiotic prescription in patients with kidney disease due to reduced drug clearance.
Understanding drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is essential when determining the most effective antibiotic therapy. In addition, successful antimicrobial therapy requires appropriate choice of antibiotic, including dose, frequency, and duration .
What Antibiotics Are Used To Treat Bacterial Utis
Once your physician has determined the location of your UTI and whether its complicated, he or she will likely suggest an antibiotic for treatment. Infections in the lower urinary tract are typically treated with oral medication , while upper-tract UTIs usually merit intravenous antibiotics.
All antibiotics require a prescription. This is, in part, to avoid the potential for antibiotic misuse, which can result in your body forming a dangerous resistance to antibiotics. Its also a way to ensure that you visit a healthcare provider when you have symptoms. If left untreated, even an uncomfortable but harmless lower-tract UTI can become more severe, particularly if its allowed to travel further up the urethra and take up residence in your kidneys.
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Why Is It Important To Take My Antibiotic As Prescribed
When prescribing an antibiotic, a healthcare provider takes many factors into account, such as allergy history, cost, tolerability, previous antibiotic therapy, and prevalence of drug resistance. Drug resistance is a public health problem. It refers to how germs can develop antibiotic resistance to our antibiotics through developing mutations that defend them and passing that genetic information on to other germs .
Antibiotic resistance makes our drugs less effective and affects people everywhere. If your healthcare provider prescribes an antibiotic treatment, you can do your part to help fight this problem. Follow your providers directions and remember the following guidelines .
Can You Test For Interstitial Cystitis
At a certain point, when UTI tests fail to identify a bacterial cause for symptoms, a diagnosis of recurrent UTI is escalated to IC for many individuals.
We know standard UTI testing methods are inaccurate. So there is a good chance a significant number of people are misdiagnosed with IC after receiving a false-negative on their test results. They may have an infection that testing has simply failed to pick up.
|I was told my urine culture was negative, and I therefore didnt have an infection. I was subsequently diagnosed with IC, but occasionally, during a symptoms flare, I would be culture positive. Eventually I pursued better testing, and found Id probably had an infection the whole time. Im slowly recovering, with treatment, and Im glad I didnt accept my diagnosis in the end.|
A number of researchers now believe many cases of Interstitial Cystitis may indeed be caused by bacteria that standard UTI testing has failed to identify.
Read more about Interstitial Cystitis and chronic infection testing and treatment in a dedicated section from our interview with Ruth Kriz.
If you have received inconclusive or negative test results, despite symptoms of a UTI, we encourage you to keep pushing for an answer. Seek better testing and find a practitioner who is willing to work with you.
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What Are Some Common Side Effects Of Uti Medicine
As with any medication, there are always potential side effects. Common side effects associated with UTI medications include sensitivity of the skin to sunlight, changes in urination, seizures, confusion, uneven heartbeat, and diarrhea or stomach problems. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if your side effects persist or worsen.
UTI medications may also cause allergic reactions that result in hives or difficulty breathing. Allergic reactions can be life-threatening. You should seek immediate medical care if you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction.
This list of side effects is not comprehensive. Ask a healthcare professional for more details regarding the possible side effects of a particular medication.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Back pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, or your other symptoms continue after treatment, call your healthcare provider. A UTI can spread throughout your urinary tract and into other parts of your body. However, treatment is very effective and can quickly relieve your symptoms.
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Treatment Options For Urinary Tract Infections
Ladies, if you think you have a urinary tract infection, you are probably right. One study found that women who self-diagnose a UTI are right 84% of the time.
You can apply this know-how to partner with your health care provider to pick the right treatment The go-to treatment of a UTI, which is caused by a bacteria, is antibiotics. Your questions about treatment decisions can make a difference, especially since antibiotic recommendations have shifted and not all doctors have changed their practices.
Can I Become Immune To The Antibiotics Used To Treat A Uti
Your body can actually get used to the antibiotics typically used to treat a urinary tract infection . This happens in people who have very frequent infections. With each UTI and use of antibiotics to treat it, the infection adapts and becomes harder to fight. This is called an antibiotic-resistant infection. Because of this, your healthcare provider may suggest alternative treatments if you have frequent UTIs. These could include:
- Waiting: Your provider may suggest that you watch your symptoms and wait. During this time, you may be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in an effort to flush out your system.
- Intravenous treatment: In some very complicated cases, where the UTI is resistant to antibiotics or the infection has moved to your kidneys, you may need to be treated in the hospital. The medicine will be given to you directly in your vein . Once youre home, you will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of time to fully get rid of the infection.
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Who Else Has A Higher Risk Of A Uti
There are a handful of other factors that can boost your odds of developing a UTI. They include:
- Uncontrolled or inadequately controlled diabetes
- Certain forms of birth control, such as diaphragms that put pressure on the urethra
- Being sexually active, particularly with a new partner
- Anatomical abnormalities or blockages along the urinary tract, such as kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate
Because UTIs are so common, theyre also subject to a greater spread of misinformation than other conditions. Contrary to myth, you cannot get a UTI from using tampons or sanitary napkins, wearing tight clothing, riding a bike, or failing to urinate after intercourse.
Pain Relief Vs Antibiotics
New Zealand guidelines do not currently support the use of NSAIDs in favour of antibiotics. The results of two recent large randomised trials found that antibiotics reduce symptom duration on average by around 2 days, and reduce the risk of pyelonephritis. On the beneficial side, around half to two thirds of women who use NSAIDs do not end up needing antibiotics. Shared decision making should used in conjunction with your patient. Kronenberg A, Bütikofer L, Odutayo A, et al. Symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated lower urinary tract infections in the ambulatory setting: randomised, double blind trial. BMJ 2017 359:j4784.
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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
How Is A Uti Diagnosed
Urinary tract infections are very commonly self-diagnosed , though sometimes a urinalysis is necessary. Collecting a urine sample or urine culture could help doctors determine what type of bacteria is in the urine. After that, an appropriate antibiotic can be prescribed.
People who experience recurring UTIs may recognize the characteristic symptoms of a UTI: pain while urinating, blood in the urine, a frequent need to urinate, flu-like symptoms, and pain or pressure in the lower abdomen.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , women experience more UTIs than men do. This is because women have a shorter urethra than men and because their urethra is closer to the rectum. These factors increase the likelihood of bacteria reaching the urinary system. People with weakened immune systems such as the elderly are at a higher risk of getting UTIs. Children are prone to becoming infected as well, especially while potty training.
UTIs can fall into one of two categories: lower or upper tract infections. Lower tract infections include urethritis and cystitis . If lower tract infections are left untreated, this can lead to an upper tract infection where bacteria reach the ureters and kidneys. Kidney infections can be very painful and are especially dangerous for pregnant women.
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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.
Wipe From Front To Back
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 cause infections.
After urinating, wipe in a way that prevents bacteria from moving from the anus to the genitals. Use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus, for example.
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The Common Symptoms Of Utis In Men That Antibiotics Actively Treat Are:
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Burning sensation while passing urine
- The frequent urge of peeing
So, whenever you face these symptoms just get in touch with a specialist doctor. The doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to treat the urinary infection. Lets know about some of the most effective antibiotics for UTIs in men.
Use Rxsaver Card To Compare Prices
When shopping for OTC medications, including vitamins and supplements, you can have your health care provider write you a prescription for them. If you are prescribed OTC medications, you may be able to save money by using a free . The price of your OTC medication may be cheaper using the RxSaver card than the sticker price on the medicine.
“Unbelievable savings. One script is $120 cheaper than my current insurance!”
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Are Quinolones Safe
The fluoroquinolones, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin have also been commonly used for simple UTIs however, FDA safety recommendations strongly suggest that this class be reserved for more serious infections and only be used if other appropriate antibiotics are not an option.
- An FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluoroquinolones are associated with serious and potentially disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system.
- These adverse effects can occur soon after administration to weeks after exposure, and may potentially be permanent.
- Patients should discuss the use of fluoroquinolones and their side effects with their healthcare provider.
However, certain oral fluoroquinolones may be appropriate for more complicated UTIs, including pyelonephritis and complicated UTIs in men with prostate involvement. For the outpatient treatment of uncomplicated pyelonephritis, the following quinolones may be appropriate. Based on resistance patterns , an inital dose of a long-acting parenteral antimicrobial, such as ceftriaxone, may be needed, or a 24-hour dose of an aminoglycoside.
Patients should be informed of the most current FDA warnings surrounding the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
How Common Are Utis
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 20% of women will experience a UTI at some point in their life. Of those, one in five will have a second UTI, and 30% of that narrowed group will have a third. Additionally, 80% of women who have three UTIs will have repeat infections after that.
Men also experience UTIs, but far less frequently. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be sexually active to get a UTI, although it does increase your likelihood as intercourse can facilitate the spread of bacteria.
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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.
Antibiotics Can Reduce Your Risk Of Complications
Trying a wait-and-see approach with a UTI can lead to health complications. Left untreated, a UTI in your bladder or urethra can develop into an infection in your kidneys . A kidney infection is a more serious type of UTI. It can result in permanent organ damage or lead to a potentially fatal blood infection.
Antibiotics help your immune system fight off the bacteria responsible for a UTI and can greatly reduce the risk of your minor UTI becoming a much more serious kidney infection. The sooner you start taking an antibiotic, the lower the likelihood of complications.
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Can A Uti Go Away On Its Own
While most patients with a UTI will be prescribed antibiotics, the truth is, uncomplicated urinary tract infections are often self-limiting, meaning they can potentially run their course sans antibiotic treatment, noted a 2018 report in PLoS Medicine.
In fact, that same report found that more than one-half of the women studied experienced a UTI resolution without the use antibiotics. However, since kidney infections occurred in 7 out of 181 women using ibuprofen, the researchers concluded that, at this time, they cannot recommend ibuprofen alone as initial treatment to women with uncomplicated UTIs.
A better idea, for now: Simply wait until a positive urine culture comes back before treating with antibiotics.