Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs in Women
UTIs are one of the more common urologic concerns that our patients experience, especially women. Virtually all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives Studies have shown that some women simply have a propensity to have their vaginal bacteria attach or stick to the lining of their bladders thus causing an infection, and that the only consistent activity or behavior that leads to UTI’s in women is sexual activity. UTIs have never been shown to be a function of poor hygiene or other habits. E. Coli is the most common culprit, but all of the bacteria that reside in our gut can be the cause. And although most UTIs are simple and uncomplicated, some women begin to experience chronic or repeated UTIs, which can cause significant impairment in their lifestyle and a feeling of helplessness.
Treatment for Recurrent UTIs
Once a UTI has occurred, antibiotics are the most effective and, quite frankly, only curative treatment. However, recurrent UTIs pose a problem with chronic antibiotic use – they may increase the likelihood of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Too often people are treated for all urologic symptoms with antibiotics without getting a culture or urine pcr to prove infection and guide treatment. Diagnosis and using the lowest amount of the right antibiotic is key, and moving on to treating conditions that cause symptoms when tests do not show UTI can save a lot of frustration. You will need to work with your urologist to develop a treatment plan that effectively treats recurrent UTIs while also avoiding potential antibiotic resistance or missing underlying conditions.
Most patients come to their urologist’s office thinking that they can only be treated with antibiotics. While antibiotics are helpful and necessary to treat an infection, preventative measures exist today that are non-antibiotic related. One of the more common questions from patients is if cranberry juice is preventative for UTIs. There’s both a long and a short answer for that – the short answer is yes. However, cranberry juice must be consumed in the correct concentration and formulation. We may recommend supplements like D-Mannose, cranberry, and aloe vera for good UTI prevention and overall bladder health. Vaginal estrogens, and timing antibiotic use to sexual activity can also be employed.
Ultimately, getting help from a qualified urologist such as those at Urologic Surgeons of Washington is the best way to manage recurrent UTIs while ensuring your long-term safety. To learn more and schedule an appointment, please contact our office.