Each year millions of people – mostly women – contract Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
Uncomfortable, painful and inconvenient, at least the cure used to be easy: a visit to your doctor or urgent care for a urine test and a prescription for an antibiotic and maybe one for pain. After a couple of days on the medicine your UTI became a distant, albeit unpleasant, memory.
But now, research shows treating UTIs is becoming increasingly difficult because of the continued rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.
Causes and symptoms
UTIs are caused by a bacterial infection of the urethra, and in some cases, the bladder. This occurs when bacteria from the large intestine transfers to the urethra by not wiping front-to-back after going to the bathroom or during sexual intercourse. Women are more prone to UTIs because they have shorter urinary tracts.
Symptoms of an infection include a persistent need to urinate, pain in the abdomen or pelvic area, burning during urination and cloudy and/or discolored urine that could smell off.
Treatment must change
“Antibiotic resistance is increasing, and we have had to change the antibiotics that are effective for treatment,” said Dr. Devin Minior, Banner Health Urgent Care’s physician executive.
In some cases, UTIs could require intravenous antibiotics to clear the infection, which is a more invasive and costly option. Like other cases of antibiotic resistance, health care professionals continue to encourage conservative use of antibiotics.
There are several ways people you can try to prevent UTIs from happening in the first place.
“Staying well hydrated, using probiotics and taking vitamin C may also help prevent getting new UTIs,” Dr. Minior said. “Also practicing good hygiene when wiping may prevent UTIs from forming.”
Studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice has been mixed, but this may help treat or prevent mild UTIs, Dr. Minior said.
Find a Banner Health Urgent Care location near you.