What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs are common infections that happen when bacteria, often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract. The infections can affect several parts of the urinary tract, but the most common type is a bladder infection .
Kidney infection is another type of UTI. Theyre less common, but more serious than bladder infections.
Ask The Doctor: Do I Need To Take Antibiotics For A Urinary Tract Infection
Q.Every time I get a urinary tract infection, my doctor prescribes antibiotics. Is there any other way to treat my infections?
A. Urinary tract infections are a common affliction in women, especially as we get older. Antibioticsusually a three-day courseare the standard treatment for women younger than 65. Once you are older than 65, your doctor will likely treat you for seven to 10 days. Although there have been studies in which women’s UTIs went away on their own without treatment, taking antibiotics prevents the infection from spreading to your kidneys, which can lead to complications such as permanent kidney damage.
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Treatment Concerns For Antibiotics
While most UTIs can be effectively managed and treated with a course of antibiotics, more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to different types of antibiotics due to mutations in their genetic code. Every time you take an antibiotic, the bacteria that are in your system are more likely to adapt and mutate and become resistant to the administered antibiotic. And since recurrence rates in the case of UTIs are high, its a strong possibility that an antibiotic may not be effective every time. Many antibiotics such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, and sulfonamides are no longer effective against stronger mutated bacteria and hence are not a good choice for combatting these infections.
Other health risks and adverse effects associated with antibiotics for the treatment of urinary tract infections include extreme allergic reactions and numerous side effects. These can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
Another potential risk of taking antibiotics is that they might destroy some of the good bacteria residing in your system that help with your systematic bodily functions without harming you. The death of these bacteria opens up the passageway to a whole new range of possible infections.
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Latest Antibiotics For Utis
- Vabomere is a combination carbapenem antibiotic and beta-lactamase inhibitor. Vabomere was first approved in August of 2017.
- Vabomere is used for the treatment of adult patients with complicated urinary tract infections due to susceptible Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter cloacae species complex.
- Vabomere is given as an intravenous infusion every 8 hours. Dosage adjustments are required in patients with varying degrees of kidney impairment.
- Zemdri is an aminoglycoside antibacterial for the treatment of complicated urinary tract infections, including pyelonephritis. Zemdri was first approved in February of 2015.
- Zemdri is used against certain Enterobacteriaceae in patients who have limited or no alternative treatment options. Zemdri is an intravenous infusion, administered once daily.
See also: Treatment Options for UTIs
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.
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What Symptoms Will I Notice If My Uti Involves The Kidneys
Some symptoms associated with UTIs can imply that the infection involves the kidneys. In this instance, the infection is considered more serious, is classed as a complicated UTI as mentioned above, and always requires medical advice.
Symptoms of pyelonephritis include having a fever or chills, having pain around the sides or the back, and feeling or being sick. If you think you have a UTI and are also experiencing these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Symptoms of pyelonephritis include having a fever or chills, having pain around the sides or the back, and feeling or being sick
All complicated UTIs generally require antibiotic treatment, although unfortunately some even require a hospital stay. Other UTIs which always require medical attention are those which occur in children, in men, and in pregnant women.12
Urine samples should be sent for further testing in the case of complicated UTIs, to ensure that if the symptoms dont get better, other antibiotics can be found and tried.
How To Feel Better
If your healthcare professional prescribes you antibiotics:
- Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
- Do not share your antibiotics with others.
- Do not save antibiotics for later. Talk to your healthcare professional about safely discarding leftover antibiotics.
Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your healthcare professional might also recommend medicine to help lessen the pain or discomfort. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
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When To See A Doctor About A Uti
As mentioned, antibiotics are typically needed to treat a UTI, so it’s important to seek prompt care if you notice the signs of one.
- Your symptoms are severe or getting worse
- Your symptoms don’t improve after a few days
- You’re getting recurrent UTIs
“Early and effective UTI treatment helps ensure that the infection is dealt with while it’s easiest to treat and before it progresses to the kidneys,” says Dr. Kannady. “Even a mild kidney infection can come with fairly debilitating symptoms, including fever, vomiting and intense pain. These infections also require a longer course of antibiotics.”
And the more serious the kidney infection, the greater the risk of complications. They can range from hospitalization to even permanent kidney damage or a life-threatening bloodstream infection in some cases.
In men, UTIs also can spread to the prostate and cause prostatitis which also often requires a longer course of antibiotics to treat.
“By initiating antibiotics as soon as a UTI is identified, we can greatly reduce the risk of these more complex and serious outcomes,” says Dr. Kannady.
Lastly, if your UTI symptoms don’t improve after taking antibiotics for a few days, be sure to follow up with your doctor.
What Oral Antibiotics Are Used To Treat An Uncomplicated Uti In Women
The following oral antibiotics are commonly used to treat most uncomplicated UTI infections :
Your doctor will choose your antibiotic based on your history, type of UTI, local resistance patterns, and cost considerations. First-line options are usually selected from nitrofurantoin, fosfomycin and sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim. Amoxicillin/clavulanate and certain cephalosporins, for example cefpodoxime, cefdinir, or cefaclor may be appropriate options when first-line options cannot be used.
Length of treatment for cystitis can range from a single, one-time dose, to a course of medication over 5 to 7 days. Kidney infections may require injectable treatment, hospitalization, as well as a longer course of antibiotic, depending upon severity of the infection.
Sometimes a UTI can be self-limiting in women, meaning that the body can fight the infection without antibiotics however, most uncomplicated UTI cases can be treated quickly with a short course of oral antibiotics. Never use an antibiotic that has been prescribed for someone else.
In men with symptoms that do not suggest a complicated UTI, treatment can be the same as women. In men with complicated UTIs and/or symptoms of prostatitis are not present, men can be treated for 7 days with a fluoroquinolone . Tailor therapy once urine cultures are available.
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Which Antibiotic Will Work Best
Your doctor will take a urine sample to confirm that you have a UTI. Then the lab will grow the germs in a dish for a couple of days to find out which type of bacteria you have. This is called a culture. Itâll tell your doctor what type of germs caused your infection. Theyâll likely prescribe one of the following antibiotics to treat it before the culture comes back:
Which medication and dose you get depends on whether your infection is complicated or uncomplicated.
âUncomplicatedâ means your urinary tract is normal. âComplicatedâ means you have a disease or problem with your urinary tract. You could have a narrowing of your ureters, which are the tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder, a narrowing in the urethra which transports urine from the bladder out of the body, or, you might have a blockage like a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate . Its also possible you have a urinary fistula or a bladder diverticulum.
To treat a complicated infection, your doctor might prescribe a higher dose of antibiotics. If your UTI is severe or the infection is in your kidneys, you might need to be treated in a hospital or doctors office with high-dose antibiotics you get through an IV.
Your doctor will also consider these factors when choosing an antibiotic:
- Are you over age 65?
- Are you allergic to any antibiotics?
- Have you had any side effects from antibiotics in the past?
Could My Uti Symptoms Be A Sign Of Anything Else
Sometimes symptoms can be mistaken for a UTI but actually be caused by something else. For example, pain, burning, and stinging when passing urine can also be a sign of chlamydia, so it is important to exclude this if you are at risk.13
Needing to pass urine very frequently may also be a sign of other conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, although this is much less common than UTIs. However, it may be considered if other symptoms are present, like feeling thirsty very often.
Other less common conditions can also cause an increase in the frequency of passing urine, including a high blood level of calcium, and some medications. Blood in the urine can be a sign of lots of things other than a UTI, including kidney stones, STIs, and problems with the anatomy of the urinary tract. An examination from a medical professional and common tests if necessary can help distinguish between a UTI and another cause.
Generally speaking, UTIs are very treatable and wont always need antibiotics it just depends on the severity of your symptoms. However, if you experience symptoms and are unsure, it is always best to visit your doctor to be on the safe side, as some types of UTIs always need antibiotics.
Featured image is of a spilled bottle of pills against an orange background
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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:
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.
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How Can A Uti Be Prevented
Amanda recently contacted TheDiabetesCouncil asking how to prevent utis. There are quite a few simple things you can start doing today, that will ensure you dont end up with another dreaded infection tomorrow!
The very best prevention is to practice good hygiene techniques. Now remember, I am a Registered Nurse, so I am going to get technical here ladies:
- Wiping front to back is essential! Transfer of bacteria is definitely going to happen otherwise and will cause a urinary tract infection for sure!
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder immediately after sexual intercourse ladies.
- Every time you empty your bladder, try to make sure it is fully empty.
- Drink lots of water to keep your bladder flushed out current recommendation is 8 eight ounce glasses per day .
- Keep your diabetes under the best possible control!
I know these techniques seem simple at first glance, but if you are vigilant, they really will work. Practicing these preventive techniques will go a long way in helping you stay healthy and hopefully avoid a potentially life threatening urinary tract infection.
Why does diabetes increase the risk for getting a UTI?
Weaker immune system, poor blood circulation, high blood glucose levels, and diabetic neuropathy are some of the reasons why people with diabetes are at a higher risk
I am a woman, am I at a high risk of getting a UTI?
What are the signs and symptoms that I should watch for?
The most common signs and symptoms to look out for are:
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Utis
If you have a UTI, you may:
- pass very small amounts of urine
- feel the need or urge to pass urine frequently
- feel that the bladder is still full after passing urine
- feel unwell with nausea and fever
- experience confusion
- have pain stinging or a burning feeling when urinating
- have smelly, cloudy, dark or blood in the urine
- pain in the lower back or sides or feel uncomfortable in your lower abdomen
Signs of UTIs in children can also include:
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Why Should I Take The Full Dose
Antibiotics work well against UTIs. You might start to feel better after being on the medicine for just a few days.
But even so, keep taking your medicine. If you stop your antibiotics too soon, you wonât kill all the bacteria in your urinary tract.
These germs can become resistant to antibiotics. That means the meds will no longer kill these bugs in the future. So if you get another UTI, the medication you take might not treat it. Take the full course of your medicine to make sure all the bacteria are dead.
What Does A Uti Feel Like
If you have a UTI, you almost always feel it.
The most common UTI symptoms include:
- Frequent and strong urge to urinate
- Burning sensation, or even pain, while urinating
- Feeling as if you are unable to empty completely while urinating
- Having urine that is strong-smelled, cloudy or discolored
- Pelvic pain, in some cases
“Some of these symptoms, such as a burning sensation during urination, can overlap with the symptoms of other vaginal infections, such as yeast infections which are treated very differently from UTIs,” says Dr. Kannady.
This is one reason why it’s so important to consult your doctor about UTI symptoms. He or she can determine if your symptoms are truly indicative of a UTI and run the tests needed to appropriately diagnose and treat your infection.
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When Should I See My Doctor
If you have any symptoms associated with a UTI or a pre-existing health condition, dont delay visiting your doctor for treatment.
UTIs can be more dangerous if youre pregnant, due to an increased risk of kidney involvement. See your doctor if you are pregnant and you think you have a UTI, even if your symptoms are mild.
Children with UTI symptoms should see a doctor, to check for a more serious underlying condition.
Bladder infections may spread to your kidneys . This is a serious infection and needs immediate treatment with antibiotics. Signs and symptoms of kidney infection include fever, back pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. If you have these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor.
Otc Uti Treatment Options
UTIs are typically treated with a course of antibiotics that may run for a single day or a course of 7 days but usually lasts at an average of 1-3 days for uncomplicated urinary tract infections. However, some infections might not even need a course of antibiotics and may cease to exist. But, while treatment of UTIs without antibiotics may be a possible prospect in the future, for now, only a few equally effective OTC UTI treatments are available that can help a patient manage their symptoms. These include:
Hydration: Although not exactly an OTC UTI treatment method, hydration is still the key to treating a UTI quickly. If youve contracted a UTI, it is important to have fluids as frequently as possible so that you urinate more frequently and the harmful bacteria are flushed out of your urinary tract through natural means. This option means curing your symptoms without the use of medication.
- Probiotics: Probiotics serve as an excellent OTC UTI treatment option that helps promote digestion and immunity in your body. Probiotics restore the good bacteria present in your gut and reduce the chances of reinfection.
- Ascorbic Acid: Increasing your Vitamin C intake not only strengthens your immune system but is also a greater OTC UTI treatment option since it helps acidify the urine which may reduce the chance of reinfection.
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