My longtime readers know how concerned I am about antibiotic resistance. Our overuse of these drugs is on the verge of creating a global health crisis. Antibiotics are an incredibly valuable tool, but if we use them where they aren't needed, we give bacteria more and more chances to learn to outsmart them, ultimately rendering them useless. I certainly support the use of antibiotics when they're truly necessary, but many people don't recognize where that line is. So I want to educate my readers on alternative treatments for the variety of ailments that don't require antibiotics for resolution.
A frequently cited example is the common cold. Since the cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics don't do you any good. And research just published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society is adding another complaint to the list: urinary tract infections (UTIs) in older adults.
When older adults report any symptoms that could indicate the presence of a UTI, from changes in urine odor or color to confusion or falls, doctors are often quick to prescribe antibiotics. However, research is showing that it's normal for urine to contain both bacteria and viruses — their presence doesn't mean there's an infection. In fact, many of these microorganisms are actually "good guys," helping us maintain healthy microbiomes in our guts. Taking antibiotics wipes out the friendly bacteria along with the foes, often doing more harm than good, particularly if none of the bacteria were causing trouble in the first place.
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If you do have an infection, you will know because you will have symptoms such as urinating frequently or pain or burning when urinating. But in the absence of any symptoms, even when there are bacteria in the urine test, this study shows us that antibiotics are usually not necessary. Do keep in mind that if you're currently taking antibiotics, you shouldn't stop mid-course. That's one of the worst things you can do when it comes to enabling antibiotic resistance.
But if you're prone to bladder issues or simply want to avoid UTI-like symptoms in the future, I recommend Advanced Bladder Support. It can help control the inflammation that often makes people think they have a UTI and supports healthy muscle function in the bladder. And it won't contribute to antibiotic resistance or disrupt your microbiome.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD