More than half of all women in the U.S. will have at least one urinary tract infection in her lifetime. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states that UTIs are 30 times more common in women.
A UTI is caused by bacteria that gets into the bladder, where it does not belong, causing a painful situation. Symptoms often include painful urination, a strong urge to use the bathroom, and pelvis pain. If you’ve had one, you know how terrible it feels.
And while these symptoms are bad, things can get worse if the infection persists: a UTI can cause serious health problems should it spread into the kidneys. For many women this is a frequent, bordering-on-chronic condition. Then recurrent UTIs result in the frequent use of antibiotics, leading to antibiotic resistant infections. And so on, and so forth.
Enough with the negativity. Several new developments in the UTI landscape may finally change the outlook for women (and some men, too).
So, what’s new with UTI relief? For one thing, a new, highly effective drug is on the verge of approval at least a year earlier than expected. This new antibiotic did so well in drug trials that its manufacturer GSK stopped its late phase clinical trials and is submitting for approval from the FDA. If approved, this would be the first new antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections in the last 20 years.
Without going into too much science, the new drug is also part of an entirely new class of antibiotics. In this case the drug, called Gepotidacin, halts the bacteria’s ability to replicate by employing two key enzymes. It promises to work faster than previous antibiotics.
In other UTI news, it was just announced that scientists are developing a new test that can quickly diagnose the condition, as well. Getting an accurate diagnosis is important for many reasons.
Proper hydration can provide UTI relief
One is that women typically go on antibiotics before getting a definitive diagnosis. This leads to overuse and eventual drug resistance. Quick diagnosis also lends itself to timely treatment. Another is that an effective and speedy test will also give doctors are better read on just how prevalent UTIs are.
Also, a new vaccine targeting urinary infections is underway out of the University of Texas. Health experts call this a game-changer, helping on all fronts if it is successful. In testing, the injectable vaccine greatly stemmed UTIs in women who are prone to get them frequently. Researchers noted a reduction of infection anywhere between 75-100%.
Preventing infections naturally lessens the need to even use antibiotics. This would likely take a couple of years, at least, to get to market, though.
Given how many people are impacted, it is also worth sharing there are steps you can take to avoid getting a UTI in the first place.
The Mayo Clinic says drinking more water to dilute your system and flush out bacteria can help avoid UTIs. There is also anecdotal evidence that cranberry prevents UTIs — nothing super solid, but doctors will tell you it doesn’t hurt. Avoiding the use of irritating feminine products including deodorants, sprays, and powders is a must, too; as is wiping from front to back after using the bathroom since it keeps bacteria from entering the urinary tract. Lastly, always empty your bladder after sex to, again, limit bacteria.
Hopefully all this information should help women who are intimately familiar with UTIs rest a bit easier.