Urinary tract infection treatment
Urinary tract infections can be painful. If left untreated, an infection might even spread to the kidneys, which can cause more serious problems and complications. This is one of the reasons why timely diagnosis and treatment are necessary if you suspect a urinary tract infection. Luckily, specific medications can keep UTIs from becoming a serious threat to your health and are commonly prescribed to help eliminate infections of the urinary tract.
Infections in men
UTIs in men are often a result of a urinary blockage (urinary stone, enlarged prostate) or are the result of a medical procedure involving a catheter. Usually, doctors recommend lengthier therapy in men than in women, in part to prevent infections of the prostate gland. UTIs in older men are frequently associated with acute bacterial prostatitis, which can have serious consequences if not treated urgently.
UTIs are primarily treated with antibacterial drugs. It is important to take the full course of prescribed treatment even if symptoms disappear. Taking medications as prescribed helps fully clear an infection. Single-dose treatment using antibacterial medicines is not recommended for people who exhibit signs of a kidney infection, are diagnosed with diabetes, structural abnormalities, or prostate infections.
Longer treatment may be required for infections caused by mycoplasma or chlamydia, which are usually treated with doxycycline, tetracycline, or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. The drugs most often used to treat routine, uncomplicated UTIs include:
- amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox)
- ampicillin (Omnipen, Polycillin, Principen, Totacillin)
- nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin)
- trimethoprim (Trimpex)
- trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, Cotrim)
A new class of drugs called quinolones has been approved in recent years for treating UTI, which includes the following medicines:
- ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- norfloxacin (Noroxin)
- ofloxacin (Floxin)
- trovafloxin (Trovan)
There are a few things that you can do to try to prevent a UTI from occurring. If you follow these steps and still contract a urinary tract infection, be sure to call your doctor.
Women who experience frequent recurrences of UTIs (three or more a year) can ask a doctor about treatment options. Treatment will be adjusted according to the cause of the UTI.
Doctors can prescribe low dose of medicines for several months or longer to prevent infections from recurring. If having sex seems to cause infections, a doctor may suggest a single low dose antibiotic pill after sex to prevent urinary tract infections. Frequent urinary tract infections may also be caused by changes in the bacteria in the vagina. Therefore, your doctor may recommend that you avoid using antibacterial vaginal douches, spermicides and certain oral antibiotics. Menopause can also cause changes in vaginal bacteria that increase risk for urinary tract infection. Taking estrogen can correct this problem.
Recent studies have shown that children and women who tend to get UTIs repeatedly may lack proteins called immunoglobulins, to fight infection. Early tests indicate that a vaccine helps patients build up their own natural infection-fighting powers. The dead bacteria in the vaccine do not spread like an infection; instead, they prompt the body to produce antibodies that can later fight against live organisms. Researchers are testing injected and oral vaccines to see which works best. Another method being considered for women is to apply the vaccine directly as a suppository in the vagina.
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