Researchers have found that half of all women receive the wrong antibiotic for a bacterial infection in their urinary tract.
Experts believe this happens many times as a result of the fact that a medication is prescribed before laboratory results are available.
Experts advise women who suspect they may have an infection to get a culture done and wait for the results before prescribing antibiotics.
Nearly half (50%) of women who have been treated for UTIs start off with the wrong antibiotic and end up on it.
This is the conclusion of a Washington University study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology of The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
Experts agree that research is essential for anyone fighting a urinary tract infection and for all antibiotic use.
Healthline reported that antibiotics are serious medicine and should be used with care. Dr. Katherine Campbell MPH, medical director for labor and birth, maternal special treatment unit at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut told Healthline, “Antibiotics can be dangerous medicine.”
She said, “We are now in the third generation of (having available antibiotics), and there are real consequences due to antibiotic resistance.”
This study examined the differences in antibiotics that were prescribed to rural women and urban women.
The study authors expected to find more problems in certain areas, but they discovered that there are many.
Researchers found that almost half of 670,450 women who participated in the study were given the wrong antibiotic, and many were prescribed antibiotics for too long.
Healthline was informed by Anne Mobley Butler (Doctor of Medicine) and assistant professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.
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Gersh said that this is not a case where doctors don’t understand or care.
She said that it is more likely due to a combination of antibiotics that work better in different areas and the tendency to treat for UTIs before culture testing is done.
Antibiotics used in a lot of places can make them less effective.
Resistance to infectious agents can lead to antibiotic resistance, which can make the antibiotic less effective.
Gersh stated that Amoxicillin is an excellent example.
She said, “It used be the first in line. But now it’s just as effective.” “Resistant strains have become so common, it’s no longer the standard.”
Providers find it difficult to deal with this situation because there is no universal solution.
Butler stated that it would be helpful to understand how, when and what antibiotics to prescribe.
She stated that promoting optimal antimicrobial exposure, including the appropriate agent and duration, benefits both patients and society by preventing avoidable adverse effects, microbiome disruption and antibiotic-resistant infection.
She said that inappropriate antibiotic use increases the risk of treatment failure, adverse events and antibiotic resistance. This also leads to higher healthcare costs. Take the right actions
What should a person do if they suspect a UTI?
Experts advise that you be open to asking questions and to waiting.
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Gersh recommends these steps:
- Be specific about your symptoms
- Share your frequency and urgency of urination, your pain level and if you have ever had a fever.
- She said that it is a good idea to write this down in advance, especially if you are feeling sick or distressed.
- Gersh stated, “Especially in this age of telemedicine.”
- Ask for a urine sample
- Ask for the test even if your provider says it’s a UTI.
- Gersh stated, “We need to understand exactly what bacteria is growing in your bladder.”
- She insists on this, even if she has to go back to the UTI repeatedly.
She said that repeated infections are not uncommon in women. However, it is important to determine if the bacteria is the same, if it has become resistant or if it is something else. She said, “You don’t know what you have if it isn’t happening to you.” Be open to waiting
Gersh advised that you should not take antibiotics from your home without first asking.
Patience can also pay off. She said, “There is no reason to treat immediately.” “Antibiotics didn’t exist 100 years ago. Women still get UTIs, but they weren’t killing them.”
Gersh recommends self-treatment with hydration, herbal remedies, and waiting until the culture returns.
She said that you may find that things start to improve with this. She said, “We want our bodies to heal themselves.”
Butler said that he hopes the study results will help practitioners to see the problem and to focus more on the correct medication.
Campbell stated that she believes electronic medical records could be the solution.
These records, she stated, should be used to track past illnesses and medication and results. They can also be used to help determine future UTI needs.
She said, “Even as an equalizer between urban and rural areas.” It’s a great example how we can improve this. It should be possible to do a simple thing such as a UTI.