UTI’s are common, and a cycle of antibiotics is the only available treatment. The good news is that antibiotics are effective, and they can completely eliminate the symptoms of infection relatively quickly, sometimes in less than a day. The bad news is that they can have unintended complications.
Knowing what’s causing the problem:
First, in a typical UTI visit at the doctor, the doctor may or may not get a urine sample to actually test what bacteria is causing the UTI. 90% of the time the bacteria is E. coli, but 10% of the time it isn’t, and the antibiotic they give you may have no effect as antibiotics are specific to their target.
Taking antibiotics can get rid of the bad bacteria causing the infection, but it can also kill good bacteria that protect you from other infections. Taking antibiotics for a UTI can lead to increased risk of both Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) as well as Yeast Infections. These are usually kept in check by a balance of normal, healthy bacteria, but antibiotics can disturb this balance. It is not uncommon to experience BV or a Yeast Infection following a UTI treated with antibiotics.
Another problem that many of you are likely familiar with is how frustrating and difficult it can be to get antibiotics. You may be experiencing the terribly uncomfortable symptoms of a UTI and know you have one, but you still may need to schedule a doctor appointment to get a prescription and jump through hoops to have it fulfilled so that you can finally get relief.
You may be familiar with the concept of antibiotic resistance. Essentially, the more antibiotic you take, the more likely the population of bacteria is to not be killed by the same antibiotic. What this means for you is that the more you take antibiotics, the less effective they may be the next time around, and not just for UTI’s but for other infections.
Need for preventive measures:
What’s the take-away here? Antibiotics are important and effective, but they should be used sparingly. The only way to do this is to avoid infection as much as possible, because if you have one, you’ll need antibiotics.