What Are Chronic Uti Symptoms
Women with chronic UTIs may have repeated or recurring infections , UTI symptoms that dont disappear within 48 hours after treatment, or a UTI that lasts longer than two weeks, according to the Baylor College of Medicine. Although symptoms can vary from woman to woman, they often include:
- Urgent need to urinate
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Soreness in the lower abdomen, back, or sides
- Urine that has a strong or foul odor, is cloudy, or is tinged with blood
Some UTIs are more likely to return than others, according to recent research. An October 2018 study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology found that patients with a drug-resistant UTI were more likely to have a relapse of their infection within a week than people with non-resistant infections. Unfortunately, the folks with drug-resistant UTIs were also more likely to be prescribed an incorrect antibiotic.
This study adds to the evidence that drug-resistant bacteria are an increasing issue, even in the community and even in patients who have something seemingly uncomplicated, like a urinary tract infection, said lead author Judith Anesi, MD, in a press release. These drug-resistant infections are difficult to treat, and our study shows that relapses are common. This is an alarming finding, and interventions to curb antibiotic resistance are urgently needed.
Chronic Uti In Women Why Your Uti Isnt Going Away
Urinary tract infection symptoms are far from fun theres the burning sensation when you pee, the need to pee more often and then only a tiny amount comes out. Your pee can also look dark and cloudy. You may feel uncomfortable and frankly, it can all be exhausting.
But for some women, these symptoms never let up, they are a constant unwelcome presence. So could it be a chronic or long-term UTI?
First things first chronic UTI is different from recurrent UTI . “Recurrent UTI is a well-known condition where you get 2 or more UTIs in 6 months, or 3 or more UTIs in a year. Whats less well understood is when the infection never goes away completely or it comes back but is hard to pick up on tests. The theory behind chronic UTI is starting to get more attention and it might help explain the symptoms that some women experience,” says doctor and Healthily expert,
“We don’t yet have ideal diagnosis processes or treatments for chronic UTI because its not yet fully understood. But the good news is that more research is being carried out and world-renowned organisations are starting to acknowledge it. The NHS in the UK recognised chronic UTIs in 2022 as a separate condition to UTIs.”
Read on to find out what we know about chronic UTI so far, what women say it feels like, where to get support and treatments that are available.
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.
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What Are Potential Side Effects Of Antibiotics For Uti
In addition to the notable side effects weve already covered, there are a few more potential antibiotic side effects youll want to know about.
Most antibiotics can cause some degree of stomach upset like nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you have severe diarrhea or diarrhea that lasts for 2 or more days, let your healthcare provider know. Diarrhea is a common side effect while taking antibiotics and just after finishing them. But in some cases, diarrhea from antibiotics can be a sign of a more serious infection caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria.
Some people are also sensitive to antibiotics, which could result in a minor reaction like a rash or a more serious reaction like anaphylaxis. If you notice difficulty breathing or major skin changes after taking an antibiotic, get medical help right away.
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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How Vets Diagnose Utis In Cats
Vets diagnose urinary tract infections by collecting a urine sample and examining it for the presence of bacteria. These samples must be collected through a process called cystocentesis, where urine is drawn directly from the bladder with a fine needle. This is necessary to prevent contamination of the urine sample from cups, tables, or any other surface the urine may come into contact with.
After cystocentesis, your veterinarian will run a culture-and-sensitivity test. During this test, the bacteria are isolated and studied. This helps the vet determine the best antibiotics for your cats exact infection.
Occasionally, acute infectionsespecially first-time infections that show up suddenlyare treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic without trying to determine which bacteria are involved.
Chronic infections, however, almost always require more testing to isolate the type of bacteria causing the problem and identify the best antibiotic.
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How Does A Uti Happen
A UTI can occur in any area of the your urinary tract, including the kidneys , ureters , bladder and urethra . UTIs occur when bacteria gets into your urethra and travels to your kidney.
Risk factors that can increase your chance of having a UTI include:
- having medical conditions like diabetes
- previous UTI in the last year
- using spermicide as a method of birth control
Sometimes your doctor can diagnose your UTI just based on your symptoms. Your doctor might need to confirm if you have a UTI through urine tests and urine cultures. You may also need other tests like blood tests or imaging studies of your urinary tract.
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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 doctors instructions for treating a UTI.
Uti Symptoms In Women Important Things To Know
If youve ever had a urinary tract infection and if youre a woman, chances are you have you know theyre not fun. UTIs can make you feel an increased urge to urinate combined with a burning sensation. These symptoms tend to reappear throughout the day and can be extremely uncomfortable.
UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, leading to more than eight million visits to health care providers each year. Urinary tract infections are also one of the most common conditions treated by MDLIVE doctors.
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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.
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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Natural And Home Remedies For Chronic Uti
Alongside the treatments mentioned above, natural remedies that are sometimes used for preventing regular UTIs, include:
- D-mannose: this is a nutritional supplement that comes as a powder or pills. Its a type of natural sugar found in some fruits and it is thought to stop bacteria sticking to your urinary tract. To find out more about how D-mannose works, read our article, Recurrent UTI in women
- cranberry products such as juice, tablets or capsules. But although cranberry remedies are a popular choice, there isnt much evidence that they reduce the risk of getting UTIs
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.
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What Is A Uti Anyway
A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system, but usually the bladder and urethra, according to the Mayo Clinic. UTIs are typically caused by bad bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra and multiplying in the bladder, leading to infection. Even the most mild UTI can be intensely aggravating, but chronic UTIs repeated or prolonged bacterial infection of the bladder or urethra can be even worse.
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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Take Probiotics And Vitamin C Supplements
Probiotics and vitamin C may help flush bacteria from the urinary tract to clear away UTIs. Probiotics contain healthy live bacteria that can destroy bad bacteria, while vitamin C can strengthen your immune system to fight disease and infection. Ask your doctor for recommendations on the best probiotics and vitamin C supplements you can take to make your UTI go away on its own.
Keep in mind that while youre trying to clear a UTI on your own, you may still experience symptoms. Symptoms of a UTI include:
- A strong urge to urinate
- A persistent need to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Pink, red, or dark urine
- Urine with a strong odor
- Passing small amounts of urine
Youre Using Certain Methods Of Birth Control
When it comes to UTI prevention, not all birth control methods are created equal. Luckily, only one method is associated with UTIs: a diaphragm.
Because of where the diaphragm sits, it puts pressure on the urethra, which might lead to an increased risk, says Minkin. The good news? There are plenty of other great birth control options.
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Living With Urinary Tract Infections
If you have 3 or more urinary tract infections each year, your doctor may want you to begin a preventive antibiotic program. A small dose of an antibiotic taken every day helps to reduce the number of infections. If sexual intercourse seems to cause infections for you, your doctor many suggest taking the antibiotic after intercourse.
Signs That Uti Is Not Responding To Antibiotics
What if you feel lower back pain? Is this a sure sign that infection is progressing to the kidneys and antibiotics are not working?
While lower back pain could be an important sign of kidney infection, in many cases low back pain alone is not a sure sign that bacteria ascended to the kidneys, it could be just pain radiating from the bladder due to UTI, clarifies Dr. Hawes. However, if you are experiencing fever and/or nausea, these are very serious symptoms and you should seek immediate medical attention.
This is when the chances are higher to get sick with an infection caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria:
- You underwent multiple UTI treatments in your lifetime
- If you have been using the same antibiotic for previous infections
- Stopped taking antibiotics and didnt finish all the pills that your doctor prescribed you
- If you are guilty of keeping a stash of antibiotics and self-treating UTIs, cold, travel diarrhea, etc.
- Youve been recently hospitalized
- If you are immunosuppressed or have any serious chronic health issues, for example, uncontrolled diabetes.
Dr. Hawes highlights that it is important to request a urine culture test before deciding on a type of antibiotic. If you are taking multiple antibiotics without checking bacterial drug sensitivity, its a guessing game that only increases your chances to develop resistant bacteria.
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What Causes Chronic Urinary Tract Infections
- Bacteria entering the urethra during sexual intercourse
- Urinary tract problems
- Problems emptying the bladder completely due to blockage, muscle or nerve problems
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Altered estrogen levels during menopause
- Genetic predisposition
Women are at an increased risk of getting urinary tract infections if they:
- Have had a UTI before
- Have had several children
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