Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common type of infection caused by bacteria (most often E coli) that travel up the urethra to the bladder. A bladder infection is called cystitis. If bacterial infection spreads to the kidneys and ureters, the condition is called pyelonephritis. Cystitis is considered a lower urinary tract infection. Pyelonephritis is an upper urinary tract infection and is much more serious.
Disease statistics UTIs are responsible for nearly 10 million health care office visits, 1.5 million hospitalizations and $1 billion in costs annually in the United States, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The infections are more common in women, with one in five getting at least one UTI during her lifetime.
Treatment with antimicrobials aims to eradicate the bacteria causing infection. The chosen antimicrobials depend on extent of infection (uncomplicated or complicated), common local pathogens, and resistance patterns. Examples of antibiotics for uncomplicated UTI include:
• Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole • Fluoroquinolones • Nitrofurantoin Research Scientists are working on developing a vaccine that can prevent UTIs from coming back.
Researchers are testing injected and oral vaccines to see which works best. Another method being considered for women is to apply the vaccine directly as a suppository in the vagina. Other scientists are working on identifying ways to prevent UTIs using probiotics.