Treating urinary tract infections with...nothing

August 06, 2013
Volume 10    |   Issue 32

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common and uncomfortable. To clear them up quickly, doctors often treat them with antibiotics. While this will usually help the UTI, it can cause more harm than good if it contributes to antibiotic resistance or gut problems. Fortunately, you don't have to resort to antibiotics to get rid of a UTI. Often, you can get the same results if you simply do nothing!

Our bodies have a far greater ability to fight infections than we typically give them credit for. Much of the time, they can easily get rid of a UTI on their own. In fact, research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Family Practice found that in 70% of cases, uncomplicated UTIs clear up or improve within a week, even without the use of antibiotics.

With this in mind, researchers at the University of Amsterdam asked women with uncomplicated UTIs to consider delaying antibiotic use. About half agreed, and a week later, two-thirds of the women were either rid of the infection completely or showing significant improvement. Not only had their health improved on its own, they didn't take the chance of developing resistant bacteria.

The lead researcher in the study, Dr. Bart Knottnerus, pointed out that "Women may be more receptive to the idea of delaying treatment than is commonly assumed by many clinicians. Give proper observations to simply doing nothing, or giving pain medication instead of an antibiotic, is an effective treatment and one which will reduce the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and "superbugs" are increasing daily, much to the concern of the medical community. The more you use antibiotics, the higher your chance of these dangerous bacteria developing. So it’s important to give your body a chance to work on its own. Antibiotics can certainly be helpful for serious bacterial infections, but they don't work for viruses, and they are typically unnecessary for more minor infections.

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It's easy to look to antibiotics immediately for any infection. But they aren't necessarily the safest choice. Fortunately, you can take safe steps to treat a UTI without resorting to antibiotics. And, in many cases, you’ll see it disappear faster than doing nothing.

Begin by eliminating sugar, which feeds bacteria like those associated with UTIs. Next, take probiotics like Advanced Probiotic Formula. Then just give your body some time to put its own healing powers to work.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Bart J Knottnerus, Suzanne E Geerlings, Eric P van Charante, Gerben ter Riet. Women with symptoms of uncomplicated urinary tract infection are often willing to delay antibiotic treatment: a prospective cohort study. BMC Family Practice, 2013; 14 (1): 71 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2296-14-71

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