With urinary tract infections reportedly on the rise, more and more women are receiving antibiotics to treat them. However, new research shows that many patients aren’t getting the right dosages of UTI medication and are often staying on antibiotics longer than medically necessary, which can cause a number of other health concerns. So are you getting the correct UTI treatment? Here’s what you need to know.
What does the research show about UTI treatment options?
A recent study published in Infection Control & Hospital Immunology looked at what rural women received for UTI treatment and found that up to 75 percent of their prescriptions were for far too long a period of time. Women in rural areas were also more likely to have this issue than women in more urban areas.
That said, this research aligns with a larger body of work that shows that women from all different backgrounds tend to receive the wrong dosage of prescription medication for UTIs. One particular 2018 study looked at private insurance claims from over 600,000 women between the ages of 18 and 44 and concluded that almost half of them received an antibiotic that was inappropriate for treatment and over 76 percent were prescribed antibiotics for a longer period of time than was deemed medically necessary.
Why is it bad to get the wrong UTI dosage?
There are two issues that can come about from taking any antibiotic for too long. For one thing, patients might experience short-term side effects from being on certain medication for extended periods of time. UTI meds have historically been known to cause allergic reactions, rashes, nausea headaches, and vomiting for some patients.
But on top of that, people build up antibiotic resistance over time, so when you’re on a medication for longer than necessary, it becomes harder for that same antibiotic to work as effectively in the future. Considering that women experience more UTIs as they get older, that could mean spending more time on a prescription to treat it and therefore dealing with greater resistance.
If that wasn’t enough, science has also shown that too much antibiotic usage can lead to long-term issues with gut health. Antibiotics disrupt your body’s delicate microbiome in its quest to rid the body of “bad” bacteria. By continuously killing “good” bacteria in the process, you could actually make your body more susceptible to other infections and even serious health illnesses, like cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
How can you make sure you get the right dosage?
If you’re diagnosed with a UTI, the easiest things you can do is double-check with your doctor about the dosage you’re being given and the duration of your course of treatment. Take the time to highlight your concerns and the health issues you’re trying to prevent down the line and see what your doctor has to say.
What can you do to prevent a UTI?
While some women may be genetically predisposed a greater risk of UTIs, there are some simple steps everyone can take to keep them at bay. You’ve probably heard the old adage to drink cranberry juice, and the science backs up that regularly eating cranberries can reduce your risk of getting a UTI.
In addition, you should avoid using any scented menstrual products, stay hydrated, stay away from bubble bath mixes, and urinate regularly. Basically the name of the game it to keep everything clean and dry down there!