Ask Sofia: How can I cope with persistent UTIs?
Urinary tract infections or UTIs are an infection in any part of the urinary system, most commonly the bladder and urethra, although more serious infections can involve the kidneys. They are characterized by the classic symptoms of frequency, urgency and burning during urination as well as blood in the urine. While they are typically easy to treat with antibiotics, when UTIs also include a fever or flank pain in the low back or side of the body, they can indicate a more serious infection.
“If you are getting three, four or more UTIs per year, we classify that as chronic and would refer you to a urologist, who can take a closer look,” said Certified Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Knapp, who noted that UTIs can have a genetic component, occur when women become sexually active or more sexually active, since that brings bacteria closer to the urethra. They are also more common in post-menopausal women. Knapp recommends urinating after sex and wiping from front to back.
Physician Assistant Allie Nowak often recommends the supplement d-mannose to patients looking for a more natural way to treat and prevent urinary tract infections. It works by breaking up biofilms that form around bacteria and is effective at “flushing” e coli from the urinary system. The dose for treatment is 1.5 to 2 grams twice daily for three days, followed by 1.5 to 2 grams once a day for an additional week. If symptoms are not improving or are worsening within a few days of starting D-mannose, follow-up with your doctor because the UTI may be caused by a bacteria other than e coli or symptoms may be related to another cause.
“Whether you have chronic UTIs or your very first one, if you don’t improve after starting antibiotics or spike a fever or flank pain, don’t let it go. Call right away so we can ensure the infection isn’t something more serious,” Knapp added.