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:
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.
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.
Read Also: How To Treat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
Option #: Uti Symptoms Return After Antibiotics
Another story is when your urine test did show a UTI. You then took antibiotics, felt completely fine, but several days later woke up with the same nasty UTI symptoms.
Here two options are possible: we were unable to eliminate the infection completely or it is reinfection, says Dr. Hawes if only 2-3 days elapsed since treatment and symptoms recurred, most likely we were not able to clear the infection. However, if you get an infection 2-3 weeks after your last antibiotic treatment, count it as reinfection.
How Are Utis Treated And Prevented
A UTI is often a once-off illness that resolves quickly and responds to treatment with antibiotics if needed. However, for some people, UTIs are a recurring problem.
If you have repeated UTIs there are some self-help measures that may help prevent further infections:
- drink more fluids to help flush out bacteria
- urinate immediately after intercourse
- gently wipe from front to back after urinating
- wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants
- eat natural yoghurt to restore normal vaginal environment
- find an alternative method of birth control if you use spermicides
There is conflicting evidence for drinking cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. If you want to try cranberry products, ask your doctor for advice.
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What Are Other Possible Causes Of Painful Urination
A painful burning feeling when you urinate is often a sign of a urinary tract infection . However, painful urination can occur even if you dont have an infection. Certain drugs, like some used in cancer chemotherapy, may inflame the bladder. Something pressing against the bladder or a kidney stone stuck near the entrance to the bladder can also cause painful urination.
Painful urination can also be caused by vaginal infection or irritation. You might be sensitive to chemicals in products such as douches, vaginal lubricants, soaps, scented toilet paper, or contraceptive foams or sponges. If it hurts to urinate after youve used these products, youre probably sensitive to them.
I Still Have A Uti After Finishing A Course Of Antibiotics Why Didn’t Drug Kill It All Off
I’m 25 and not sexually active. After having a burning discomfort down there and lower back pains that my doctors were ignoring for weeks to months they finally did a test and discovered I had a UTI. I was put in Macrobid/ nitrofutonin 100mg 1 pill twice a day for 5 days. I took the medicine EXACTLY as prescribed. I was drinking both cranberry juice and water to flush it out completely. I did notice an immediate difference in the pain when I was taking the antibiotics. However, by the 4th day of treatment I noticed My infection stopped responding to the antibiotics. So I just assumed maybe it’s residual burning and irritation from having a UTI for awhile. Plus I thought once I finish the course maybe it needed time to kick in so waited a few weeks to see if there would be difference.
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Posted 5 years ago
You may need a different antibiotic. I, too, was on the nitrofutonin, and it didn’t get rid of it. The dr. prescribed Amoxicil which took care of it. In the past, I have also been prescribed Cipro which would knock it out fast. The last infection i had which was about 2 months ago, was really hard to get over. I ended up having an ultrasound/ cystoscopy which were normal. The symptoms remained yet no infection. My urologist seems to believe I may have had an allergic reaction to the lubricant used f/ my pap smear. I am just now beginning to feel better.
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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 to rule out the possibility of sexually transmitted infections.
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.
Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Cure Uti With Antibiotics
Cranberry Juice And Supplements
Thereâs probably no harm in trying, but they’re not a proven fix.
Over the years, a lot of studies have focused on a substance found in cranberries thatâs thought to prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. None of these studies have shown how much of this substance it would take to help prevent UTIs.
Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills is usually fine, unless you take a blood-thinning medication, a medication that affects your liver, or aspirin.
Probiotics, especially in a vaginal capsule, and D-mannose, a kind of natural sugar you can buy at health food stores, might help prevent unfriendly bacteria from growing in the urinary tract, but both need to be studied more.
You should talk to your doctor before you try cranberries or any supplements to find out the right dose and to make sure they won’t cause other problems.
Cleveland Clinic: âUrinary Tract Infections,â âCan Cranberry Juice Stop Your UTI?â
Urology Care Foundation: âUrinary Tract Infections in Adults: After Treatment,â âUrinary Tract Infections in Adults: How Are UTIs Treated?â
Mayo Clinic: âUrinary Tract Infection .â
American Urological University.
JAMA Internal Medicine: âCranberry-Containing Products for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in Susceptible Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.â
UpToDate: “Recurrent urinary tract infection in women.”
Option #: Persistent Uti Symptoms After Treatment
Here is another option: they sent your urine sample to a lab and later told you that according to the test you have a UTI. However, antibiotics resolved some symptoms , but the urge to urinate or pain in the lower abdomen remained.
As you could imagine, there could be a scenario when not only you have a full-blown UTI, but also an inflamed bladder lining is causing additional symptoms, as discussed above.
In this case, you, most likely, will see a reduction in pain, and your urine will become clear. However, pain in the bladder area and slight irritation after urination might still linger.
Moreover, when patients mention they feel burning in the urethra rather than the bladder, its quite normal. In fact, the urethra has more nerve endings that could be easily irritated due to underlying inflammation.
Read Also: How To Stop Uti Without Antibiotics
When Urinary Tract Infections Keep Coming Back
If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, you can head them off before they take hold.
Unless you’re in the fortunate minority of women who have never had a urinary tract infection , you know the symptoms well. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. Your urine might be cloudy, blood-tinged, and strong-smelling. For 25% to 30% of women who’ve had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months.
If you have repeated UTIs, you’ve experienced the toll they take on your life. However, you may take some comfort in knowing that they aren’t likely to be the result of anything you’ve done. “Recurrent UTIs aren’t due to poor hygiene or something else that women have brought on themselves. Some women are just prone to UTIs,” says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Kalpana Gupta, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Why Antibiotics Sometimes Dont Work
Most UTIs arent serious. But if left untreated, the infection can spread up to the kidneys and bloodstream and become life threatening. Kidney infections can lead to kidney damage and kidney scarring.
Symptoms of a UTI usually improve within 2 to 3 days after starting antibiotic therapy. Many doctors prescribe an antibiotic for at least 3 days.
While this type of medication is the standard treatment, researchers are noticing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are reducing the effectiveness of some antibiotics in treating UTIs.
Some UTIs dont clear up after antibiotic therapy. When an antibiotic medication doesnt stop the bacteria from causing an infection, the bacteria continue to multiply.
The overuse or misuse of antibiotics is often the reason for antibiotic resistance. This can happen when the same antibiotic is prescribed over and over again for recurrent UTIs. Because of this risk, experts have been looking for ways to treat UTIs without antibiotics.
Some research has shown that UTIs can be treated without traditional antibiotics by targeting E. colis surface component for adhesion, FimH.
Typically, the urinary tract flushes away bacteria when you urinate. But according to researchers, FimH can cause E. coli to firmly attach to the cells in the urinary tract. And because of this tight grip, its hard for the body to naturally flush the bacteria from the urinary tract.
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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.
What To Do When Your Uti Keeps Coming Back And Doesnt Respond To Treatment
Recurrent UTIs, also called Chronic UTIs, can be particularly alarming. To manage persistent symptoms, make it a point to visit your health care provider right away and start some preventive lifestyle habits.
You probably already know that urinary tract infections can produce a long string of burdensome symptoms, including an urgent and sudden need to urinate, burning pain when urinating or balisawsaw, and a feeling of heaviness or pressure on the abdomen.
However, the real horror begins when these symptoms refuse to improve, even with medical treatment.
Recurrent UTIs, also called chronic UTIs, are more common in women than in men. The culprit being, the inherent anatomic structure of women , which consists of a shorter urethra positioned close to the rectum. This makes it easier for infection-causing bacteria such as Escherichia coli to make their way to the urinary bladder and multiply.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
As soon as you think that your child has a UTI, call your doctor. The doctor may recommend another urine test after treatment to be sure that the infection has cleared.
If your child has from recurrent UTIs, consult a pediatric urologist, who can do a thorough evaluation and order tests for urinary system abnormalities. In the meantime, follow your doctor’s instructions for treating a UTI.
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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:
What Can You Do If You Keep Getting Utis
If you keep getting UTIs, you must talk to your doctor. After talking with you, your doctor will either recommend treatments for recurring urinary infections or send you to a special doctor called a urologist. A urologist focuses on diseases and problems of the entire urinary system, so he may be able to better pinpoint what is causing your infections and how to treat and prevent them.In addition to the tips mentioned above, you can also take some other simple steps to help prevent UTIs, such as:
- Drink plenty of water.
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Took Antibiotics Some Uti Symptoms Resolved Other Symptoms Still Linger
So why if it wasnt a UTI, the prescribed antibiotics worked and you did feel a relief? Well, there could be at least three reasons:
Dr. Hawes hypothesizes that it could be due to some sort of a side-effect from Cipro: perhaps, the medicine does something else to the body besides killing bacteria that could indeed reduce UTI-like symptoms.