Urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause more than 8.1 million visits to healthcare providers each year. Approximately 60% of women and 12% of men will have at least one UTI during their lifetime.
UTIs affect your urinary tract, which includes your bladder, urethra and kidneys. They are treated most commonly with antibiotics. However, there are a number of situations where you may be prescribed other treatments.
Here, we’ve outlined what UTIs are and how you can treat them with antibiotic medication.
What are UTIs?
To understand what a UTI is, you first need to understand the role of your urinary tract. This is the part of the body that makes and stores urine. Normally, urine has no bacteria in it and the one-way flow from your kidneys to your urethra prevents infections. UTIs occur when bacteria manage to counteract this one-way flow.
The reason that women are typically more affected by UTIs is due to their much shorter urethra. Pregnancy can also make them more susceptible to a UTI as pregnant women have more sugar and proteins in their urine, and greater pressure is placed on the urinary tract due to the growing fetus.
However, both men and women can easily suffer infection as a result of:
- Sexual intercourse
- Kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate/Skene’s gland
- Urinary catheters
- Weakened immune system
- Lack of genital hygiene
Should bacteria then travel into your system, you are at risk of suffering a UTI.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
When you have a UTI, you may experience irritation in your lower abdomen and pelvic area, and sometimes even your lower back. Typically, this makes you feel the need to urinate although you may experience pain or burning when you do so. You may even struggle to urinate at all.
The reason for this is that the lining of the bladder and urethra have become as sensitive as your throat does when you have a cold. As such, all aspects of your urinary tract (kidneys, bladder and urethra) are now failing to function as normal. This has been known to cause additional symptoms, such as:
- Blood in your urine
- Urine that looks cloudy
- A very low temperature below 36°C/96.8°F
- A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- Needing to urinate suddenly or more urgently than usual
- Needing to urinate more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
Children also can suffer from UTIs, especially if they have been recently constipated. Parents and carers should check if they:
- Feel sickly
- Appear generally unwell
- Wet the bed or wet themselves
- Have a high temperature when touching their neck, back or stomach
If children display any of these symptoms, you should take them to see your family doctor. However, if you see some of the more severe symptoms (such as not having been to the bathroom all day or having blood in their urine), you should take them to the hospital.
Can UTIs be treated?
Yes. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed to treat the infection within your urinary tract, and painkillers are recommended to help you handle the symptoms. Even if you start to feel better, you are advised to always finish the whole course of antibiotics to ensure the infection has been eradicated.
If the UTI continues to come back, you may need to visit your doctor, perform a urine test, and be prescribed alternative antibiotics. For example, if you have been through menopause, you may instead be prescribed a vaginal cream containing estrogen.
While it may feel uncomfortable, it is important throughout this time to continue to regularly drink fluids (or encourage the affected child to do the same). There is also some evidence to suggest that cranberry products can help, although this is not widely proven.
What antibiotics are given for UTIs?
The antibiotic you’re prescribed usually depends on the type of bacteria found in your urine and your general health. For most people, that means one of the following:
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
Available in tablets or liquid form, trimethoprim is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for UTIs. It is usually taken twice a day and typically makes the patient feel better within a few days. You may also be prescribed it for chest infections and acne.
Used specifically to treat bladder infections (such as acute cystitis or lower UTIs) in women, fosfomycin is an antibiotic taken orally in liquid form. If you aren’t feeling better after two to three days, consult your doctor.
Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
Nitrofurantoin is able to filter through your body into your urine, allowing it to concentrate at the site of infection. Bear in mind that this medicine can cause an upset stomach, so it is best to take it with or straight after meals.
More of a generalist drug, cephalexin is used to treat multiple infections caused by bacteria – from pneumonia to infections of the bone. It comes in multiple forms and, like all medicine, should be taken exactly as directed.
As with cephalexin, ceftriaxone is used to treat many kinds of bacterial infections. It is also used to prevent infection in people who are undergoing certain types of surgery. It is unique in that it is injected rather than taken orally.
If you have what’s considered to be a complicated UTI or kidney infection, your doctor might prescribe a fluoroquinolone medicine. Drugs like ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or levofloxacin (Levaquin) should then help clear up the infection.
How Medix make UTI antibiotics affordable
Thanks to our international supply of medication, we’re able to offer prescription antibiotics for a fraction of the cost you’d pay at a brick-and-mortar pharmacy. What’s more, we deliver right to your doorstep. So, if you’re feeling unwell because of a UTI, you only need to rest and wait for your drugs to come to you.
Provided you have a valid prescription from your doctor, you can speak to our team today and start lowering your medical costs. For more information, please call 1-866-500-6633 (toll-free phone number) or +44 1438 500111 (international phone number). Alternatively, you can submit your details through our contact form and we’ll get back to you.