UTIs or urinary tract infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Amoxicillin, sold under brands names like Amoxil or Augmentin, is the most common antibiotic prescribed for UTIs in men, women and children. There are many side effects of Amoxicillin 500 mg or 875 mg dose. Let us consider these effects and study some alternatives to these drugs.
Conventional Treatment of UTI
UTIs are classified as complicated or uncomplicated. When a UTI affects pregnant women, very young kids or elderly patients, then it is termed as complicated UTis. Uncomplicated UTIs on the other hand, affect the lower urinary tract and are accompanied by symptoms like dysuria and increased frequency of urination in otherwise healthy patients. In both, uncomplicated and complicated UTIs, amoxicillin 500 or 875 mg dose may be prescribed. This is characterized by following features:
- Traditional approach to solving UTIs is to prescribe the antibiotics for 7 to 14 days.
- Single dose amoxicillin of 3 grams has a cure rate of 60%.
- Longer courses may be given to pregnant women who relapse early with same organism. The same may be true in patients with diabetes, polycystic kidney disease and renal failure.
- According to an article in the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1999, 10 to 14 day courses of amoxicillin are recommended for children since shorter courses are shown to be inferior.
What is an antibiotic?
Antibiotics can save lives. They directly target the bacterium causing the infection, in this case the escheria coli organism, which is responsible for most bladder infection cases. Antibiotics are a class of antimicrobial drugs that could also consist of anti-parasitic, antiviral and antifungal drugs. However, drugs like amoxicillin prescribed for UTIs are mostly bactericidal. Each class of antibiotic works differently in that; it either inhibits the bacterium’s ability to convert glucose into energy or its ability to construct a cell wall. In either case, this causes the organism to die instead of reproducing.
Broad spectrum antibiotics can be used for treating a wide range of infections including UTIs.
Side effects of Amoxicillin
Most common side effects of Amoxicillin are not dangerous but they can affect the quality of life of the sufferers. Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are some of these common side effects of Amoxicillin 875 mg and 500 mg. These may be seen in adults as well as babies. Antibiotics also kill the good bacteria in the body leading to increase in incidence of fungal infections. For example, women with recurrent UTIs who take Amoxicillin frequently are known to also develop yeast, thrush or Candida infections. This is because; the good bacteria keeping the fungi and bacteria in check are killed by the Amoxicillin.
Amoxicillin allergy is one of the not-so-common side effects of antibiotic treatment for UTIs. It can lead to facial swelling, severe rashes and difficulty in breathing. Amoxicillin allergy must not be overlooked so see your doctor immediately if such symptoms occur.
Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics
Another unpleasant side effect of amoxicillin is bacterial resistance to antibiotic. When taken frequently to fight UTIs, the bacteria causing the infection can develop resistance to the drug. In event this occurs, the drug is not able to kill the bacteria. Also, the bacteria learn to change and adapt as a result of which the drug no longer works against them. Patients who are asked to take Amoxicillin on a regular basis end up training those bacteria to become resistant to those drugs. Also, the bacterium changes structure and transfers the genetic coding among each other. This means that even the bacteria which have not previously been exposed to Amoxicillin adapt and learn how to resist it. Today, UTI resistance to amoxicillin has become very common. Many women are returning to the hospitals when the initial round of drugs has not worked satisfactorily only to be prescribed something stronger for longer durations.
Alternatives to Amoxicillin for UTI
- Cranberry juice is known to contain compounds that prevent UTI bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. Drink cranberry juice (unsweetened and preferably fresh) or pills several times a day.
- You can also take AZO- a painkiller prescribed specifically for UTI.
- Do try herbs like UVA URSI which eliminate bad bacteria without harming the good flora in the gut.
- Chamomile tea may also be taken for its relaxing and calming effects. Drink several cups of it to get rid of pain and help you sleep better.
- Make sure you also drink copious amounts of water to flush out the bacteria.
- Drink raw, organic apple cider vinegar to balance ph and reduce inflammation.
- Probiotics when taken regularly, can replenish good bacteria and strengthen the body’s fight against harmful ones.
UTI is a significant clinical problem with millions of women suffering from it annually. The pain, burning and frequent urination can all take a toll and impact the quality of life of the sufferer. We can treat uncomplicated and mild UTIs without antibiotics. Many herbs as well as over the counter analgesics and antiseptic medications like AZO provide relief from symptoms and are generally safe for use during pregnancy.