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Urinary tract Infections: Common Treatments


A variety of antibiotics are available for UTIs. The type of antibiotic depends on many factors, including whether the infection is simple or complicated, primary or recurrent. 

Treatment decisions are not always based on the presence of bacteria in the urine. If a female has symptoms and the bacterial count is low or normal, a UTI is probably present and antibiotic treatment should be considered. 

Even though antibiotics cure the UTI in the majority of cases, a recurrence of UTI is a universal problem. Today, there are many sexually active young women who have no symptoms but have a high number of bacteria in the urine. The question is what is the best treatment for these individuals? With the increasing number of resistant bacterial strains and the benign nature of a UTI, there are many in the health community who do not recommend routine antibiotic treatment.

The treatment of UTIs with pharmaceuticals has become fairly standardized. T There are numerous antibiotics which are used to treat UTIs. For those females who are sick and have evidence of kidney infection following a UTI, hospital admission is generally required and IV antibiotics administered. For the majority of females, an oral antibiotic taken for a few days is sufficient to treat the infection. 

After antibiotic treatment, most patients are free of infection. If the symptoms do not clear up within the first few days after treatment, the physician will generally recommend discontinuing the antibiotic and ask the female to provide a urine sample for culture in order to identify the specific organism causing the UTI. 

There are some agents like Phenazopyridine that can relieve the pain and burning associated with a UTI. This drug is only taken for 1-2 days and immediately provides relief. It does turn the urine reddish-orange but it is not something to worry about. The drug does not cure the UTI but only relieves the symptoms; and must be taken in combination with an antibiotic or some other treatment. In some rare cases, this drug may be associated with shortness of breath and kidney failure.

The rampant use of antibiotics for the past 50 years has now led to the development of bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics. The presence of resistant bacteria is growing at epidemic proportions all over the world. Almost all bacteria today are resistant to penicillin and the percentage of bacteria resistant to other antibiotics is increasing annually. Today, numerous hospitals in the US are struggling to treat antibiotic-resistant pneumonias and soon the treatment of UTIs will most likely follow the same path.

There is no drug that is without side effects and the same applies to the drugs used to treat UTIs. Allergies and skin rashes are common with drugs and with prolonged use, organ damage may occur. So in the long run, the less frequently antibiotics are used, the safer it is for humans as a whole.

 

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Greg Cryns
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