At some point, most women will know what it’s like to have a UTI: you feel like you have to urinate constantly, there is burning and pain during urination and you will feel like you have to pee again even when you just finished. Then, the discomfort escalates and you may even urinate blood.
UTIs happen in women because the urethra is short, making the entry of gut bacteria into the urinary bladder a straight easy shot. Now what?
1) When you start to feel the discomfort embark on your own measures to suppress it: drink lots of water, contact your doctor’s office early and report your symptoms. If you are uncomfortable you can buy over the counter pyridium (uristat) which helps the pain but does not treat the infection.
“I don’t want another one.”
2) Your doctor’s office may or may not ask you to be seen for a urinalysis. Some will call in antibiotics to the pharmacy over the weekend or after hours without a visit if you have classic symptoms.
Without a fever, nausea or vomiting this is considered an “uncomplicated UTI” and here are the best options for treatment:
3) Nitrofurantoin monohydrate (Macrodantin) 100 mg twice daily for 5 days is a good first choice since there is minimal bacterial resistance.
4) Bactim DS (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) is convenient because it’s a three day course and works as well as nitrofurantoin. The downside is bacterial resistance which can be as high as 20-30% in some communities; this means you won’t get better on this treatment. Also, many people have sulfa allergies and cannot take Bactrim.
5) Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin are highly effective in 3-day regimens but again there is the possibility of bacterial resistance.
6) When the above listed choices can’t be used Augmentin, amoxicillin, ampicillin or Keflex can be used but generally have inferior effectiveness compared to the above listed choices.
Here are some tips: pee after having intercourse, drink lots of water and drink Cranberry juice. Cranberry juice inhibits attachment of bacteria to the inside of the bladder and urethra.