Although taking daily antibiotics for women suffering from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) is still considered the best treatment option available, other strategies like cranberry pills, estrogen therapy and acupuncture have shown promising results, according to a recent study.
Recurrent UTIs are infections that occur two or more times in 6 months or three or more times in one year. This type of infection is more common in women and can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. Therefore, it’s crucial patients see their urologist at Affiliated Urologist if a recurrent UTI is suspected.
Lead author of the study Dr. Loren G. Miller of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor UCLA Medical Center (LABioMed) developed a model for the different strategies that managed recurrent UTIs. Two of these studies have been published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
A cohort of women who experienced three UTIs a year and a second cohort of women who experienced 8 UTIs a year was assembled to study treatment efficacy, patient and payer cost, and health-related quality of life. Below are the five strategies that were analyzed:
- Daily antibiotic (nitrofurantoin) prophylaxis
- Daily estrogen prophylaxis
- Daily cranberry prophylaxis
- Acupuncture prophylaxis
- Symptomatic self-treatment
Daily antibiotic prophylaxis was the most effective treatment method, but also the most expensive to the payer—antibiotics reduced the UTI recurrence rate to 0.4 per year and cost the payer $821 annually. Acupuncture followed with a recurrence rate of 0.7 per year, and estrogen therapy and cranberry pills had a recurrence rate of 1.1 a year.
Interestingly enough, symptomatic self-treatment did not reduce recurrence but produced the highest satisfaction in regards to health-related quality of life. The data also indicated insurance providers saved money on all five approaches. Patients, on the other hand, had increased out-of-pocket costs for all management strategies but symptomatic self-treatment.
This study provides insight on prevention and treatment approaches for women with recurrent UTIs and allows them to discuss cost-effective options with their urologist. If you suffer from recurrent UTIs and have questions about possible treatment options, consult your Affiliated Urologist physician. Your physician will choose an approach that fits your lifestyle and patient care needs best.
Affiliated Urologists is an award-winning practice recognized both locally and nationally that has provided service to patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and surrounding communities in the Valley, for over 40 years. The physicians emphasize top-of-the-line comprehensive urological care and strive to deliver the highest outcomes for patient satisfaction. To make an appointment, call 602-264-0608 or click here for instructions on scheduling an appointment.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.