Nearly 7 million hospital visits in the United States can be attributed to UTIs (urine infections) which are estimated to cost over $1 billion. Nearly 40% of women will suffer from a urine infection at least once in their lifetime.
Strategies for managing UTIs
One of the most cost effective strategies for treating UTIs is to order laboratory tests or urine samples particularly when the patient seems to be suffering from UTIs frequently. Lab tests are also essential prior to prescribing antibiotics for urine infection especially when the outcome of treatment is likely to be altered by their results.
In fact, antibiotics for urine infection must be prescribed only as long as they are effective. Doctors should take into account the patient’s complete medical history, whether the UTI is complicated or recurrent as well as other risk or complicating factors like pregnancy etc.
UTIs: Who is susceptible?
Majority of the urine infections occur in sexually active women taking oral contraceptives, wearing non-cotton underwear or using spermicides or condoms. Children may also get UTIs and may need prescription antibiotics for urine infection on account of weakened immunity etc.
Key points to note regarding urine samples
- Proper collection of sample urine is a must to avoid contamination.
- Urine must be sent to the lab within 30 minutes of collection.
- It is best to perform the culture test on an early morning urine sample that is not contaminated.
Common Types of antibiotics for urine infection
The following infections may need antibiotics for treatment:
- All kinds of endo cervical infections
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- Neisseria Gonorrhea
Women suffering from Cystitis may be prescribed antibiotics for urine infection such as Trimethoprim (300mg for three days). Such antibiotics for urine infection are contraindicated for pregnant women. Alternatively, penicillin (Amoxycillin and clavunalate for 5 days -500mg daily) are other types of commonly prescribed antibiotics for urine infection. Some patients are known to be allergic to certain antibiotics for urine infection such as penicillin and may be prescribed Cephalexin or trimethoprim for five days.
In certain cases, the UTI may reach the kidneys leading to Pyelonephritis. This is a serious urine infection which can even be fatal, if left untreated. Cultures need to be done to determine the exact strain of bacteria and the antibiotics for urine infection may be prescribed according to the results. In pregnancy, acute pyelonephritis is likely to recur hence follow up cultures need to be done before deciding upon further treatment.
Can antibiotics for urine infection be skipped?
A recent study conducted by Dutch doctors has stated that certain mild cases of urine infections can be resolved without antibiotics for urine infection.
US based experts however caution that antibiotics for urine infection may be skipped or delayed only in a few cases (especially if symptoms such as burning or frequent urination are present for no more than 7 days). Nearly 71 percent of women studied in the Dutch study, however, showed an improvement in their symptoms without taking any antibiotics for urine infection.
In severe cases, for example in women experiencing extreme pain or fever or those with positive urine cultures (results of a culture typically take 3 days to come back from the lab) must be prescribed antibiotics for urine infection right away.