To Your Health
March, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 03)
Treating UTIs: Is Your Medical Doctor Getting It Wrong?
By Editorial Staff
Antibiotics are the medical standard for treating urinary tract infections in women. That means a lot of women are taking antibiotics, since according to the World Health Organization, at least 50 percent of women suffer at least one UTI in their lives.
Let's ignore (for a minute) the fact that antibiotics have short- and long-term health risks of their own and focus on another problem revealed by new research: Medical doctors may be giving women the incorrect prescriptions for their UTIs.
When comparing antibiotic prescriptions for UTI to clinical guidelines, researchers discovered that nearly 50 percent of women received prescriptions for the wrong antibiotics to treat their UTI, and more than three of four women who received an antibiotic prescription were told to take it for an inappropriate amount of time (too long). In general, taking antibiotics for more than 10 days at a time, or taking antibiotics too many times, can lead to bacterial resistance to the antibiotic, eventually making it more difficult to treat the condition. In addition, as with any medication, antibiotics may cause short- or long-term side effects, including rash, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and tendon ad nerve damage (Source: WedMD).
There are also well-established ways to reduce your risk of getting a UTI in the first place (and thus eliminate your need for an antibiotic prescription to treat it), including drinking enough water and peeing frequently (as opposed to "holding it"), taking showers instead of baths, urinating after sexual activity, avoiding the use of feminine douches, powders and sprays, and proper toilet (wiping) habits.
You don't want a urinary tract infection, but you also don't want the potential health consequences of taking too many antibiotics - or, as this study suggests, taking an antibiotic counter to clinical guidelines. The solution: If you think you have a UTI, always ask your medical doctor / OBG-YN about the potential risks, how long you need to take it, and whether there are nondrug options to either treat the current UTI or prevent it from recurring.