Resistance to antibiotics has become a major topic of concern for many patients all over the world nowadays. It’s even more alarming for those who tend to experience repetitive bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections (UTI). If you think about it, resistance to antibiotics can be described as “too much of a good thing.” Many of those who suffer from UTIs, most of whom are women, are concerned that their repeated intake of antibiotics will only make the bacteria in their body immune to these drugs.
If you’re a UTI patient who’s concerned (or curious) about antibiotic resistance, this article is for you. Here, we’ll discuss the major factors that lead to bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics and how you and your physician can avoid them.
1. Overuse of antibiotics
One of the most common reasons why bacteria may develop resistance to antibiotics is overusing the drug. When bacteria are repeatedly exposed to the same type of antibiotics, they become highly familiar with the drug’s structure and mechanism, allowing them to find ways to resist the antibiotics.
This can happen in many instances. For one thing, antibiotics are used only to treat bacterial, not viral, infections. However, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between the two, so doctors may sometimes mistakenly prescribe antibiotics. However, UTI patients need not worry, as this rarely happens in the treatment of UTIs. In addition, a UTI is primarily diagnosed through a urinalysis, which means that specialists confirm the presence of bacteria in the urine before giving patients a prescription.
Another way to avoid overusing antibiotics is to observe some effective UTI home remedies, instead of taking antibiotics for very mild symptoms. If you notice your UTI symptoms starting to flare up, be sure to immediately increase your fluid and vitamin C intake. That way, your body can fight the infection before it becomes severe.
2. Underuse of antibiotics
If overusing antibiotics can lead to bacterial resistance against it, then so can underusing this drug. In this context, “underusing” means not finishing your entire antibiotic course or not taking it at the right schedule as prescribed by your doctor.
The goal of antibiotics is to kill all the disease-causing bacteria in the body. Hence, if the patient doesn’t follow the doctor’s orders by underusing this drug, then some bacteria may survive and remain in the body. When this happens, you’re only making those bacteria stronger, enabling them to develop resistance against antibiotics later on.
Of course, a good way to prevent this from happening is to always follow your doctor’s advice and prescriptions. Also, if you’re averse to week-long treatments, don’t forget to ask your physician for a single-dose antibiotics for UTI. As its name implies, these drugs are a one-time, one-pill treatment that is just as effective as your usual week-long antibiotic regimen. It’s especially formulated for patients who get repeated bouts of UTI as a way to help them manage the illness without developing resistance against antibiotics.
3. Bacterial mutation
Bacteria are living organisms, and as such, they are always undergoing changes by acquiring and developing new traits. Some bacteria may undergo spontaneous mutation, a process that may enable them to produce chemicals that inactivate antibiotics.
In addition, they may acquire resistance genes from another bacterium through their mating process, which is called “conjugation.” Here, a bacterium can transfer genetic material (including antibiotic resistance) to another bacterium, and this can spread among a group of bacteria.
Antibiotic resistance may be difficult to deal with, but the best way to fight it is to build up your body’s strength and overall health. Also, don’t forget to ask your doctor for other ways to fight your UTI, aside from week-long antibiotic treatments. These measures can greatly lessen the likelihood that the disease-causing bacteria in your body will develop antibiotic resistance, making your UTI much easier to manage.