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Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

 

Recurrent urinary tract infection (UTIs) are a common problem which can significantly affect a woman's quality of life. In the vast majority of women, there is no obvious cause for this. There are some general measures which can reduce the frequency of UTIs. These include;


Having a good fluid intake
Avoid constipation
Emptying the bladder after sexual intercourse.
Have a healthy balanced diet.

 

Most women know about these measures, and many still have recurrent UTIs despite meticulous care. Going to the doctor and getting a prescription for antibiotics can be stressful, as this is often out of hours. There are other measures that can be taken to try and reduce the frequency of UTIs, and thereby minimising antibiotic use.

 

These include
Cranberry tablets or juice

Cranberry works well for some women although the effect is variable. This is a good simple option, and apart from the taste, has few side-effects.

 

D–mannose

The main bacteria that causes urinary infection is E. coli. This causes infection by sticking to the surface of the urethra, moving into the bladder, and then multiplying. D-mannose works by attaching to the bacteria, rather than the bacteria adhering to the urethra. Again this can work very well. It has few if any side effects.

 

Hiprex

Hiprex is in antibacterial medication. It works more like an antiseptic than an antibiotic, and can be an effective preventative. It can cause gastrointestinal side effects, but these are not common.

 

Uromune

Uromune is an immunostimulant, basically a type of vaccine. It boosts the immune system's response to several bacteria that cause urinary tract infection. Uromune is a spray given under the tongue. The course lasts about 3 months, but usually provides benefit for much longer than this. It can be repeated if necessary. Uromune is well tolerated and can be very effective at reducing the frequency of UTIs, and also the need for antibiotics. Unfortunately  it is not covered by Pharmac. It costs $360 for a 3 month course.

 

Ialuril

Ialuril is a liquid medication which is introduced into the bladder via a urethral catheter. It is used in women with recurrent UTIs or with chronic bladder pain. It helps to restore the natural lining of the bladder. It can be very effective in women who have a chronically inflamed bladder, where the lining of the bladder is obviously affected. Usually a series of installations is required. The medication is not funded and is expensive.

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