Urinary tract infections can be extremely painful and cause serious damage but they can be treated effectively. Your family doctor or a urologist will usually prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria. This is the first line treatment for UTIs. The type of antibiotic used in the treatment will depend on the type of bacteria causing the UTI and your health status and the length of the course of antibiotics will depend on a number of factors:
- The severity of the infection.
- The type of the bacteria that caused the infection.
- Previous antibiotic resistance.
- Whether you have recurring infections.
- Gender, men require a longer treatment course as bacteria can thrive deep inside prostate tissue.
- Presence of any abnormalities in the urinary tract that blocks the passage of urine.
Examples of some drugs prescribed for simple infections: Nitrofurantoin, Trimethoprim, Cephalexin, and Ceftriaxone.
The doctor will prescribe an analgesic to relieve the pain associated with the infection; however the pain will improve after a couple of doses of the antibiotic are taken.
If followed correctly, the symptoms will often improve after a few days of treatment, but the antibiotic course must be completed as prescribed. This will prevent relapse of the infection.
If the patient has an uncomplicated infection with asymptomatic bacteriuria (bacteria in the urine), a shorter course of drugs will be recommended by the doctor.
Examples of treatment prescribed for a recurrent attack of UTI: If the patient is suffering from recurrent infections the doctor will suggest long-term therapy such as:
- A six-month course of low-dose antibiotics
- A single dose of antibiotic following any sexual activity if the patient’s infections are associated with it.
- D-mannose, a natural sugar from cranberry shown to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Long-term antibiotics is not a favorable solution due to the side effects which makes D-mannose a great option for many people. As a natural option with no adverse side effects, D-mannose works by inhibiting the bacteria from latching on to the bladder wall. Example of a quality D-mannose product – Biosphere Nutrition Urinary Tract Support.
In cases of severe infection, the doctor may advise the patient to receive inward treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
Other points to keep in mind:
- Consuming lots of fluids like water will dilute the urine and make it easier to flush out the microbes and also aids in speeding up the healing process.
- Keep away from drinks and food that may irritate your bladders such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, citrus juices, spicy food, and artificial sweeteners. All these may irritate the bladder and increase the frequency of urination.
How can UTIs be avoided?
The following points can be followed by women to prevent UTIs:
- Adequate intake of water and other fluids to wash out the bacteria in the bladder and ureters.
- Small doses of D-mannose every few days.
- Avoid using gels and products containing spermicide especially with a diaphragm.
- If suffering from constipation seek treatment either by visiting the doctor or with some over-the-counter drugs.
- Urinate immediately following sexual intercourse and clean the genital area.
- Do not hold urine in, go to the toilet and relieve yourself as you get the urge to void.
- Never wipe from back to front after passing urine as the germs from the rectum may be introduced into the urinary tract.
- Get prompt treatment for vaginal infections such as thrush or trichomoniasis.
- Vaginal douching has no proven benefit in altering the risk of getting UTIs.
- Avoid long baths as this may cause bacteria in the dirty water to enter the opening of the urinary tract.
- Use tampons instead of pads as the urethral opening will be drier and will be less exposed to germs.
- Do not wear tight-fitting undergarments that won’t regulate moisture. Opt for breathable, cotton underwear.
For more information on UTIs check out uti.co.nz