In women with uncomplicated urinary tract infections, intervention is available and effective. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections are defined as reliable symptoms, urine test results that confirm that an infection is present, and a rapid resolution with antibiotics. By the time I see a woman who is on her fourth or fifth infection in as many months, she has already tried cranberry supplements, d-mannose pills daily, drinking copious amounts of water, and even refraining from having sex. However, most of these will not have much of an impact. Fortunately, these clusters of recurrent urinary tract infections resolve on their own as mysteriously as they start. But, in the meantime, there are methods of managing them until they run their course.
The options that we have to offer women all involve antibiotics. For women who know their symptoms, self-medication is the best option. She keeps a supply of a mild antibiotic available, and when the symptoms arise, she takes three days of treatment and puts the rest of the pills away for the next infection. Although this method does not curtail the recurrence of the infections, it allows for expedient management when the symptoms arise. The second method is called the post-coital pill. For women who feel that the infections are related to sexual activity or who are afraid to have sex for fear of getting an infection, the post-coital pill would be a good option. This method involves taking a half of a single dose of antibiotic either before or after intercourse. Only one pill is needed for a 24 hour period. Finally, for women who get so many infections that they can’t tell if they have one or not, prophylaxis would be an option. That is the method in which a single, half-dose antibiotic is taken daily for six weeks to three months.
If you experience recurrent urinary tract infections and would like to learn more about managing urinary tract infections, please call our office or press the "Book Online" button to make an appointment to see one of our physicians.