A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be anywhere in your urinary system. It could occur in your bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters. Most infections happen in the lower urinary tract - targeting your bladder and urethra.

Common Types of UTI

Cystitis

One of the most common cases of UTI is cystitis or the inflammation of the bladder. Although not dangerous, cystitis can be a nuisance, which is why many seek cystitis treatment right away to ease their symptoms. E. coli usually causes cystitis.

Some of the common symptoms of cystitis include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Stomach and abdominal pain
  • Burning or stinging pain when urinating
  • Pinkish urine which indicates that blood is present
  • Nausea, lethargy, and other cold-like symptoms

Urethritis

This type of UTI occurs when bacteria from the anus spread to the urethra. Urethritis is usually characterized by a burning feeling when urinating. A discharge may also be present.

What Causes a UTI?

Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enters through the urethra. The bacteria may take hold in the urethra or go into the bladder. If left unchecked, this bacteria could multiply and grow into a full-blown infection. Women are more likely to develop urinary tract infections than men because they have shorter urethras.

Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection

The best cystitis treatment is an antibiotic. Your dose and the type of antibiotic will depend on the severity of your infection as well as other factors, including:

  • Age
  • Allergies to antibiotics
  • Pregnancy
  • Side effects from past antibiotic treatments

Before your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic for UTI, he needs to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection first. He will take a urine sample to confirm your infection. Samples of the bacteria will be grown in the lab for a couple of days. This “culture” will help your doctor determine the type of bacteria that’s causing the infection.

Antibiotics for UTI

Below are the conventional antibiotic treatments for urinary tract infection.

Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin is a commonly used antibiotic for cystitis treatment. Available in a brand called MacroBID, this antibiotic for UTI is enclosed in a prolonged-release capsule.

How to use Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin should be taken at mealtimes, with food or milk. Take one tablet twice a day (every twelve hours). Capsules should be swallowed whole.

The course for Nitrofurantoin is three days long. Like other antibiotics, you should complete your course to prevent the bacteria from developing resistance towards this UTI medicine. Don't stop your medication, even when there are no more symptoms. Not taking the full course may allow the bacteria to grow again, causing your urinary tract infection to reoccur.

If you missed a dose, don’t worry. Take the tablet you missed as soon as you remember. If it’s too close to your second dose, skip it. Never take two tablets to make up for the missed dose.

Side effects of Nitrofurantoin

Like most medicines, Nitrofurantoin also has some side effects. The most common side effects reported by patients taking this treatment for urinary tract infection include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Mild diarrhoea
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itching
  • Gas
  • Upset stomach

Nitrofurantoin is not recommended for people with diabetes. Don't take Nitrofurantoin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s normal to observe a dark yellow or brown urine when taking this UTI medicine. Don’t stop taking Nitrofurantoin unless you experience other symptoms like persistent vomiting, nausea, yellowing eyes, and pounding heartbeat. These could be signs of an underlying condition like anaemia and liver problems. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms while taking this medication.

Where to buy Nitrofurantoin

Express Pharmacy stocks Nitrofurantoin (MacroBID).

Trimethoprim

Another popular and effective antibiotic for a UTI is Trimethoprim. This UTI medicine is available in 100mg and 200mg doses. Like Nitrofurantoin, Trimethoprim works by stopping the growth of bacteria so your immune system can fight off the infection.

Trimethoprim is an effective cystitis treatment. Clinical trials show that Trimethoprim can work within just a few hours. It can ease your UTI symptoms within 24 hours.

How to use Trimethoprim

Trimethoprim tablets should be taken whole, with or without food. It can be used for both long-term and acute urinary tract infections.

A course of Trimethoprim lasts for three days. Take one tablet twice a day, preferably at the same time each day to help you remember easily. Don’t stop taking Trimethoprim even when your symptoms are gone. Completing the full course makes sure that your urinary tract infection will not return.

Don’t worry if you missed a dose. Just take a tablet as soon as you remember it. Don’t take the missed dose if it’s almost time for your next dose. Never take two tablets together to make up for the missed dose.

Side effects of Trimethoprim

Like all UTI medicine, there’s always the risk of side effect when taking Trimethoprim. The common side effects of Trimethoprim include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anaemia
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite

Women who take Trimethoprim may also experience confusion, vertigo, jaundice, and mouth ulcers. Most of these side effects are mild and will go away after your cystitis treatment. Contact your GP immediately if you experience these symptoms after completing your Trimethoprim course.

Consult with your doctor if you are taking other medicines. Your doctor may not recommend Trimethoprim if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or allergic to this UTI medicine’s ingredients.

Where to buy Trimethoprim

Express Pharmacy sells Trimethoprim tablets online.

Summary

Urinary tract infections are common in the UK. Most of these infections are acute and will go away in a couple of days, provided there is proper treatment.

Antibiotics for UTI are effective and readily available. However, prevention is always better than cure. So, to reduce your risks of developing urinary tract infections, do the following:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Wash carefully. Always wipe from front to back to prevent the bacteria from your anus from reaching your genital area.
  • Empty your bladder often, especially after intercourse.
  • If you are using a catheter, make sure you use it correctly to avoid damaging the delicate tissues inside your urinary tract.