• Follow us

Health

Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.

For generations, urinary tract infections, one of the world’s most common ailments, have been easily and quickly cured with a simple course of antibiotics.

But there is growing evidence that the infections, which afflict millions of Americans a year, mostly women, are increasingly resistant to these medicines, turning a once-routine diagnosis into one that is leading to more hospitalizations, graver illnesses and prolonged discomfort from the excruciating burning sensation that the infection brings.

The New York City Department of Health has become so concerned about drug-resistant U.T.I.s, as they are widely known, that it introduced a new mobile phone app this month that gives doctors and nurses access to a list of strains of urinary tract infections and which drugs they are resistant to.

The department’s research found that a third of uncomplicated urinary tract infections caused by E. coli — the most common type now — were resistant to Bactrim, one of the most widely used drugs, and at least one fifth of them were resistant to five other common treatments.

“This is crazy. This is shocking,” said Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, who was not involved in the research.

The drug ampicillin, once a mainstay for treating the infections, has been abandoned as a gold standard because multiple strains of U.T.I.s are resistant to it. Some urinary tract infections now require treatment with heavy-duty intravenous antibiotics. Researchers last year reported in a study that a third of all U.T.I.s in Britain are resistant to “key antibiotics.”

Certainly, the day-to-day experience of having a U.T.I. is growing less routine for many women.

VideoVideo player loadingBacteria are rebelling. They’re turning the tide against antibiotics by outsmarting our wonder drugs. This video explores the surprising reasons.

Carolina Barcelos, 38, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley, Calif., said she had several U.T.I.s as a teenager, all successfully treated with Bactrim. When she got one in February, her doctor also prescribed Bactrim, but this time it didn’t work.

Four days later, she returned and got a new prescription, for a drug called nitrofurantoin. It didn’t work either. Her pain worsened, and several days later, there was blood in her urine.

Her doctor prescribed a third drug, ciprofloxacin, the last of the three major front-line medicines, and cultured her urine. The culture showed her infection was susceptible to the new drug, but not the other two.

“Next time,” Dr. Barcelos said, “I’m going to ask them to do a culture right away. For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me.”

We Want to Hear From You

A New York Times journalist may follow up with you, and we may publish a selection of the responses.

Usually, it is people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions who are most vulnerable to drug-resistant infections, but U.T.I.s have a dubious distinction: They are the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs.

Resistance to antibiotics has become one of the world’s most pressing health issues. Overuse of the drugs in humans and livestock has caused germs to develop defenses to survive, rendering a growing number of medicines ineffective in treating a wide range of illnesses — a phenomenon that is playing out worldwide with U.T.I.s.

The World Health Organization, while noting that data on urinary tract infections and drug resistance is “scarce,” said the fact the infections were so common strongly suggested that increasing resistance would lead to more severe illnesses and fatalities.

The solution, researchers and clinicians say, includes a continued push for more judicious use of antibiotics worldwide. But more immediately, a partial solution would be the development of quick, cheap diagnostic tools that would allow an instant urine culture so that a doctor could prescribe the right drug for U.T.I.s.

ImageCarolina Barcelos had a urinary tract infection earlier this year. Neither of the first two drugs she took helped. “For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me,” she said.CreditBrian L. Frank for The New York Times

But whether to wait the several days it usually takes to get lab results before prescribing presents a tough dilemma for doctors and patients, who frequently are desperate for relief. Plus, depending on a person’s insurance, getting a culture can be expensive.

Generally doctors still do not order a urine culture before prescribing an antibiotic.

“In the old days, the list of antibiotic options was short but by and large they would all work,” said Dr. James Johnson, an infectious disease professor and leading researcher on urinary tract infections at the University of Minnesota.

Some women have U.T.I.s that the body fights off on its own without using antibiotics, while other women may have a different low-level ailment that feels like a U.T.I., but isn’t. The safest course is to see a doctor and make an informed decision that includes a judicious determination of whether antibiotics are warranted. The science does not support the efficacy of some popular remedies like cranberry juice or cranberry pills.

Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that U.T.I.s acquired by otherwise healthy people were a growing concern and one poorly studied. They are not tracked nationally.

In older people, urinary tract infections can be deadly, but tracking in the United States is so weak that there are no reliable estimates on the numbers of deaths related to the infections. The C.D.C. published an estimate of 13,000 per year, but that figure comes from a paper looking at 2002 data and refers only to U.T.I.s acquired in hospitals.

Dr. Clifford McDonald, associate director for science in the division of health care quality promotion at the C.D.C., said the government planned to expand its research.

“If we don’t do something soon,” Dr. McDonald said, “it’s going to push all our treatments to more advanced antibiotics that finally put a lot of pressure on the last-line treatments.”

What makes these infections so dangerous, and commonplace, is human anatomy. In women, the urethra — the gateway to the urinary tract — is in proximity to the rectum. This can lead to easy transfer of bacteria in fecal residue that otherwise resides harmlessly in the gut.

In reproductive years, women are 50 times more likely than men to have a urinary tract infection; later in life, the ratio drops to 2 to 1, as men wind up having surgical procedures on their prostate, or catheters, that more easily expose their urinary tracts to infection.

There are multiple germs that cause U.T.I.s, and their resistance levels to drugs vary both by strain and by where a patient lives. By far the most common cause of U.T.I.s today is E. coli, and, in general, those infections have seen sharp rises in resistance to gold standard treatments over the past decade and a half.

ImageDr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital, said one of her patients returned to the emergency room after a drug-resistant U.T.I. spread to her kidney. “It makes me wonder what the world looked like for women before antibiotics, and wonder if we’re going to see that now,” she said.CreditBrian L. Frank for The New York Times

New research shows that one crucial path of transfer of germs that cause U.T.I.s is food, most often poultry. The consumed poultry winds up in a person’s gut and can get transferred through fecal residue to the urethra.

A study published last year by the American Society of Microbiology, funded partly by the C.D.C., found 12 strains of E. coli in poultry that matched widely circulating urinary tract infection strains. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Lee Riley, a professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the University of California, Berkeley, said he was working on a C.D.C.-funded project to determine whether the urinary tract infection needs to be classified and reported as a food-borne illness.

Dr. Brad Frazee, an emergency room doctor at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., has been a co-author of research that adds another troubling wrinkle: Increasingly, E. coli is proving resistant not just to individual antibiotics, but also to a broad group of drugs known as beta-lactam antibiotics. These drugs share a way of attacking infection, and when a germ develops resistance to this method of attack, it eliminates several key treatment options all at once.

Recently, a woman carrying such resistance showed up at Dr. Frazee’s hospital, he said. She wound up with pyelonephritis, an infection in the kidney, and had to be treated in the hospital intravenously with a drug called ertapenem that can cost $1,000 a dose. A study found that around 5 percent of U.T.I.s at the hospital carried this resistance.

Doctors are now confronting cases of resistant urinary tract infections in their practices. Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician in San Francisco, recently received notice that one of her patients, a healthy woman in her mid-30s, was back in the emergency room with another U.T.I. that was resistant to multiple antibiotics.

One of her prior U.T.I.s had failed to respond to two commonly used treatments and had spread to her kidney, requiring hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. This time Dr. Raphael consulted with infectious disease specialists.

“It can be quite dangerous in this age where there is more and more resistance,” she said, noting that without effective treatment the infection can get into the blood. “It can be fatal.”

Deadly Germs: Lost CuresMore articles in this seriesA Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of SecrecyApril 6, 2019What You Need to Know About Candida AurisApril 6, 2019In a Poor Kenyan Community, Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant InfectionsApril 7, 2019Warning of ‘Pig Zero’: One Drugmaker’s Push to Sell More AntibioticsJune 7, 2019Citrus Farmers Facing Deadly Bacteria Turn to Antibiotics, Alarming Health OfficialsMay 17, 2019How a Chicago Woman Fell Victim to Candida Auris, a Drug-Resistant FungusApril 17, 2019

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

ABC News: Health

Former VA pathologist charged in deaths of 3 2019-08-20 18:33:57A pathologist who was fired from an Arkansas veterans hospital after officials said he had been impaired while on duty has been charged with involunta

Jury awards $3M to fired Planned Parenthood Arizona 2019-08-20 18:18:41A former Planned Parenthood Arizona employee who claimed she was wrongfully fired after she reported unsafe medical practices has been awarded $3 mill

2 drug companies settle with counties in opioid-crisis 2019-08-20 17:17:54Two drugmakers have reached settlements on claims filed by the first two Ohio counties set to go to trial in the national opioid lawsuit.

Georgia asks judge not to block restrictive abortion 2019-08-20 16:09:42Georgia is asking a federal judge not to block the state's restrictive abortion law from taking effect and to dismiss a challenge to the constitution

Big questions linger as Russia shares radiation data 2019-08-20 15:50:26A nuclear weapons watchdog says Russia has resumed sharing data from its radiation monitoring stations after they were taken offline following a deadl

Guidelines say more women may need breast cancer 2019-08-20 11:18:26New US guidelines say more women may benefit from gene testing for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer

Woman dies in Spain as listeria-in-pork outbreak sickens 2019-08-20 11:06:26Health authorities in Spain are on high alert after a 90-year-old woman died amid a listeria outbreak in the southern region of Andalusia that has aff

Planned Parenthood leaves federal family planning program 2019-08-20 00:12:57Planned Parenthood says it's pulling out of the federal family planning program rather than abide by a new Trump administration rule prohibiting prog

Brand-name drug prices rising at slower pace, lower 2019-08-19 16:42:44Prices for brand-name prescription medicines are still climbing, just not quite as much

US attorney seeks to block plan for supervised 2019-08-19 16:27:10Photos of young people lost to the opioid crisis are perched outside the federal courthouse in Philadelphia on Monday as a judge inside weighs a plan

Grower: 5,000 in Louisiana medical marijuana program so 2019-08-19 14:40:40Two weeks after Louisiana patients started receiving medical marijuana, pharmacies haven't reported any supply chain problems and the program appears

Philippines: Still-unknown disease prompts culling of pigs 2019-08-19 08:10:12The Philippine agriculture chief says an unspecified number of pigs has died or been culled in backyard farms in recent weeks and a crisis team has be

NYT > Health

Planned Parenthood Refuses Federal Funds Over Abortion Restrictions 2019-08-20 03:01:43Facing a Trump administration rule that forbids referrals for abortion, the organization decided to reject federal funds for family planning for low-i

Butterflies and the Salt of the Earth 2019-08-20 02:30:04The insects love mud puddles. Here’s why.

Premature Babies Lag in Vaccinations 2019-08-20 01:25:00Preterm babies were more than 20 percent less likely to have had required shots by 19 months.

Flavonoids in Plants May Help Protect Against Major 2019-08-20 01:24:28Those who ate the most flavonoid-rich foods had a lower risk for cancer and cardiovascular death.

Getting the Right Care for Painful Autoimmune Conditions 2019-08-20 01:17:34A corticosteroid can quickly relieve symptoms of both polymyalgia rheumatica and temporal arteritis. But a delay could cause vision loss, a stroke or

Why Do We Hiccup? 2019-08-20 01:15:32Anything that upsets or aggravates your digestive or respiratory tracts can induce hiccups. There are almost as many remedies as causes.

Football May Take a Toll on the Brain, 2019-08-20 01:15:25The brains of college football players showed signs of “fraying” after a season of play.

The Thick Gray Line: Forest Elephants Defend Against 2019-08-20 01:13:53If the species is wiped out by poachers, Africa’s vast rain forest will lose 7 percent of its carbon storage ability, scientists estimate.

Older People Need Rides. Why Aren’t They Using 2019-08-20 00:46:22Seniors need transportation alternatives more than ever, but many are intimidated by ride-hailing apps.

Why Warning Pregnant Women Not to Drink Can 2019-08-20 00:46:15Harsh measures, or even threats of them, can lead to the avoidance of prenatal care entirely.

No Pre-Reading, No Rehearsing: How ‘The Weekly’ Kept 2019-08-20 00:33:47The Times TV show’s producer/director shares the challenges and rewards of bringing to life witness testimony against Purdue Pharma in a way tha

A Secret Opioid Memo That Could Have Slowed 2019-08-19 13:43:16A new TV Show from The New York Times on FX and Hulu.

Scientific American: Health

Trials Test if C-section Babies Benefit From Mom's 2019-08-17 08:00:00Swabbing infants with mothers’ vaginal bacteria could affect the children’s health, but critics warn of sparse data and high risk -- Read

Treatment for Extreme Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Wins U.S. Government 2019-08-16 09:45:00The three-drug regimen cures 90 percent of people who have the deadliest form of the disease -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Antisense Drugs for Huntington's, ALS and Prion Diseases 2019-08-15 06:45:00A genetic therapy that increases or lowers levels of a protein raises hopes for a treatment for neurological disorders -- Read more on ScientificAmeri

Whistle-Blower Complaint Highlights CDC Turmoil on Climate 2019-08-14 15:45:00The filing will raise concerns that the agency is shifting climate funds to other programs -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Climate Shocks Could Reverse Gains in Child Malnutrition 2019-08-13 15:25:00Drought fueled by global warming could exacerbate food insecurity, particularly in developing countries -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Blood Tests for Alzheimer's: Two Experts on Why 2019-08-13 11:30:00Diagnoses could be made of individuals with AD pathology years before the first symptoms -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Two Ebola Drugs Show Promise amid Ongoing Outbreak 2019-08-13 10:00:00People who receive either therapy soon after infection have a 90 percent survival rate, a clinical trial finds -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Is Guilt Good for Your Health? 2019-08-13 07:00:00Negative feedback helps some people make better health choices, but we need a different approach to motivate others -- Read more on ScientificAmerican

Scientists Call for Do-Over for Rules on Creating 2019-08-12 15:30:00On Tuesday, an international commission will meet to develop less ambiguous guidelines for embryo editing -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Artificial Intelligence Sniffs Out Unsafe Foods 2019-08-12 09:00:00Researchers trained machine-learning algorithms to read Amazon reviews for hints that a food product would be recalled by the FDA. Christopher Intagli

Device That Automates Manual Breathing Bags Could Save 2019-08-12 08:00:00A machine that can pump manual bag valve masks without human help could be a stopgap measure or replacement for mechanical ventilators -- Read more on

Ghostpartum: Why Many Women Don't Get the Sexual 2019-08-08 12:00:00The many factors that impact a woman’s ability and desire to have intercourse after giving birth are rarely addressed during a standard postpart

MedicineNet Daily News

Study Points to Harms From MRI 'Dye' in New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: Study Points to Harms From MRI 'Dye' in Early PregnancyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/2019 12

'Red Flag' Laws May Be Stopping Some Mass New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: 'Red Flag' Laws May Be Stopping Some Mass ShootingsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/2019 12:00:

Health Tip: Lifting Heavy Things New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: Health Tip: Lifting Heavy ThingsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/21/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/2019 12:00:00 AM

U.S. Task Force Updates Breast Cancer Gene Testing New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: U.S. Task Force Updates Breast Cancer Gene Testing RecommendationsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/2

Vaping Constricts Blood Vessels, Raising Heart, Lung Concerns New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: Vaping Constricts Blood Vessels, Raising Heart, Lung ConcernsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/201

The Merits of Physical Therapy New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: The Merits of Physical TherapyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/21/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/2019 12:00:00 AM

Study Finds Diabetes, Heart Failure a Dangerous Duo New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: Study Finds Diabetes, Heart Failure a Dangerous DuoCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/21/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/2019 12:00:00

CBP Won't Vaccinate Migrants Against Flu New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: CBP Won't Vaccinate Migrants Against FluCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/21/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/2019 12:00:00 AM

When Does Heart Health Return to Normal After New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: When Does Heart Health Return to Normal After Quitting Smoking?Category: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/2

AHA News: A Mineral, a Metal and a New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: AHA News: A Mineral, a Metal and a Deadly Pregnancy ConditionCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/201

Women's Mid-Life Stress Might Have Long-Term Effect on New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: Women's Mid-Life Stress Might Have Long-Term Effect on MemoryCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 8/21/20

AHA News: New Heart Saved Her - and New! 2019-08-22 03:00:00Title: AHA News: New Heart Saved Her - and It Came With the Name of Teen Who Gave ItCategory: Health NewsCreated: 8/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial

Health News - UPI.com

Study: Alzheimer's drug Aricept could reverse alcohol effects 2019-08-20 14:01:48 An drug used to treat Alzheimer's disease could help reverse some of the negative effects of adolescent binge drinking on the brain, a study publish

USDA study advises against washing raw poultry, red 2019-08-20 13:33:46 Washing raw chicken before it's cooked is a common practice, but new federal research advised against it Tuesday -- saying it can lead to foodborne

Effects of smoking on the heart, blood vessels 2019-08-20 11:05:07 New research shows that people who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years, for at least a decade after quitting, have a higher risk for cardio

Death risk higher for Chinese-American elders when children 2019-08-16 15:49:30 Older Chinese-Americans have a high expectation of respect from their children. But when the children don't meet this standard of respect, their eld

Electric brain stimulation may help people with severe 2019-08-16 13:07:03 For people with mental illness, focusing attention over long periods of time, distinguishing between two different things and processing information

Study: One-third of military personnel keep firearms safely 2019-08-16 11:02:36 Studies show that safely storing firearms can reduce risk for suicide, and more than 60 percent of military members who die by suicide use a gun whil

Black, Hispanic patients underrepresented in cancer trials, raises 2019-08-16 10:37:52 Between 2008 and 2018, fewer than 8 percent of cancer trials in the United States had participation from white, Asian-American, black and Hispanic pa

Methadone treatment during pregnancy doesn't hurt newborn, study 2019-08-15 16:20:51 Treating a pregnant woman who suffers from opioid addiction has no more harmful impact on the newborn compared to receiving no treatment at all, a ne

FDA proposes health warnings images for cigarette packs, 2019-08-15 14:33:23 A new rule proposed by the FDA would require images to cover the top half of the front and back of a cigarette pack, as well as cover the top 20 perc

New drug may speed blood recovery after chemotherapy 2019-08-15 14:22:30 A new drug may help to speed up the rejuvenation of blood stem cells after chemotherapy, a new study says.

New method reduces post-surgical opioid prescriptions by one-third 2019-08-15 10:53:50 Researchers have come up with a way to decrease pain in patients undergoing surgeries without sending them home with dozens of opioid prescriptions.

Nearly half of patients keep information about sexual 2019-08-14 16:52:37 Nearly half of patients who've survived a sexual assault, faced threats of domestic violence, struggled with depression or thought about committing

FOX News

Baby born by C-section after parents involved in 2019-08-21 15:17:19A British couple welcomed their baby girl weeks early after they were involved in a car accident — which left them both with broken ankles &mdas

Pro athletes unite to bring wheelchair basketball and 2019-08-21 15:05:40Wheelchair basketball is transforming the lives of those caught in the crossfire of conflict, disease and poverty – spurred by the International

Beth Chapman ‘choked on cancer’ in final moments 2019-08-21 14:47:00She said the 51-year-old's final moments haunt her father.

Navy dad catches newborn son while en route 2019-08-21 14:40:12He had prayed to play a role in his wife's delivery, and he certainly did.

Teen hospitalized with vape-related health scare: ‘Machines were 2019-08-21 14:29:16A Texas teen is recovering after spending 18 days in the hospital for a collapsed lung doctors believe was caused by vaping.

Mom loses fingers, toes, part of leg after 2019-08-21 12:38:01Her most recent surgery stemming from the 2015 incident was just a few months ago.

E-cigarettes damage blood vessels even if devices don’t 2019-08-21 10:45:48Often touted as a safer alternative to cigarettes, e-cigarettes can have negative effects on a user’s blood vessels, damaging them after just on

Man's beloved dog dies just 15 minutes after 2019-08-21 10:11:26It was a tragic twist for an already heartbroken family.

Las Vegas strip visitors warned of possible measles 2019-08-21 09:21:44Heads up, Las Vegas visitors: If you took a trip to Sin City earlier this month, you may have been exposed to measles. 

Blood test can predict if you'll die in 2019-08-21 09:08:55If you could find out when you were likely to die, would you?

Lack of flu shots for migrants at CBP 2019-08-21 04:33:15U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and their medical contractors do not administer influenza vaccines to migrants being held at detention

Woman left with 'Harry Potter' scar after skin 2019-08-20 15:08:19A British woman who used tanning beds for years later developed skin cancer on her forehead that, after it was removed, left her with a “Harry P


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.