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Since about 1 in 5 women get repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs), the news that there may be hope for those who have this chronic problem is very welcome indeed. Currently, antibiotics are the chief way doctors treat this ailment. So why aren’t antibiotics satisfactory anymore?
Doctors are finding that due to repeated use of antibiotics by patients, antibiotic resistance is on the rise. Now researchers are trying to find non-antibiotic ways to treat such cases.
Chronic UTIs change the make-up of the vagina, stripping it of Lactobacillus crispatus (L. crispatus). Since a healthy vagina has ample amount of L. crispatus, the theory is that if this organism is replaced, infections will decrease.
In this trial, researchers tested 100 women who suffered from recurrent UTIs. Some were given antibiotics, others probiotics, and the rest, placebos. Those who received the placebos fared worst while those who had taken the probiotics did much better.
According to this study, published April 15, 2011 in an online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, 13 women out of the placebo group developed UTIs after treatment but only seven out of the probiotic group developed UTIs. Even though these are preliminary tests, the results were very promising. However, doctors do admit that more testing is needed for evidence to be conclusive.
So, in the meantime, how can we work preventively at warding off UTIs? Below are a few tips from Womenshealth.gov:
• “Urinate when you need to. Don't hold it. Pass urine before and after sex. After you pass urine or have a bowel movement (BM), wipe from front to back.
• Drink water every day and after sex. Try for 6 to 8 glasses a day.
• Clean the outer lips of your vagina and anus each day [wiping from front to back]. The anus is the place where a bowel movement leaves your body, located between the buttocks.
• Don't use douches or feminine hygiene sprays.
• If you get a lot of UTIs and use spermicides, or creams that kill sperm, talk to your doctor about using other forms of birth control.
• Wear underpants with a cotton crotch. Don’t wear tight-fitting pants, which can trap in moisture.