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UTIs: Prevalent Yet Overlooked?

RECENT evidence has emerged indicating that females in the USA who are affected by recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) are not satisfied with the available management options. Those involved in the study expressed their dissatisfaction towards healthcare providers for issues including over-prescription of antibiotics, and inadequate handling of their condition, despite its prevalence amongst females. 

UTIs are infections affecting the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. Scientists led a focus group study of 29 females experiencing recurrent UTIs in order to gain insight into the gaps in their care. The most common issue surrounded the over-prescription of antibiotics, and the long-term issues surrounding this. Lead author Victoria Scott, Urologist at the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Clinic at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, California, USA, noted: “Many of the participants were aware of the risks of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics.” Scott went on: “They also were aware of the ‘collateral damage’ of antibiotics, and disruption they can have on the normal balance of good and bad bacteria throughout the body.” The participants were also dissatisfied with the lack of efforts put into developing new, effective antibiotic strategies to manage UTIs. 

Research has shown that UTIs can be cleared through taking steps such as increasing water intake and using ibuprofen to manage pain. Antibiotics remain essential in some cases, including upon experiencing persistent symptoms, or the development of a fever to avoid the spread of infection. Specialists should also be consulted in the event of recurrent, severe infections. 

It is clear from this study that recurrent UTIs have a detrimental impact on many patients’ lives and has urged physicians to reconsider management options to ensure that females’ concerns are addressed. Scott concluded: “If you are experiencing recurrent UTIs, I encourage you to connect with a doctor who specialises in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery to work together to come up with individualised prevention and management strategies.”