Ask A Doctor: Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. In this edition of Ask A Doctor, wisp's Medical Director, Dr. Laura Purdy, M.D. is answering your frequently asked questions about Urinary Tract Infections.
In the United States UTIs, or Urinary Tract Infections, are the second most common type of infection in the body and account for about 8 million doctor visits a year! If you’re experiencing telltale symptoms like burning during urination, persistent urgency to urinate, or cloudy urine, you definitely aren’t alone, but you might have some questions. At wisp, our doctors answer questions about UTI treatment every day, so we’ve collected a few of your most asked questions all in one place!
Q: When can I have sex again after treating a Urinary Tract Infection?
We generally recommend waiting 72 hours after completing treatment before having sex again, as long as you are symptom free. Having an infection can leave you feeling run down and sex may be uncomfortable while you’re recovering. There’s no need to rush! Be sure to finish your entire course of treatment to make sure your symptoms don’t come back.
Q: Will taking antibiotics for UTI affect my birth control?
Although only a few very powerful forms of antibiotics are proven to reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control, we recommend taking extra precautions when undergoing antibiotic treatment of any kind. To continue preventing pregnancy, use a backup method of contraception (like condoms) for 2 weeks, throughout the duration of treatment for your UTI.
Q: Is UTI treatment safe while on my period?
Yep! This treatment is safe to take while on your period. One thing to keep in mind: although periods do not cause UTIs, leaving a tampon in or pad on too long allows bacteria to grow and can increase your risk of an infection occurring. Change menstrual products frequently to keep yourself clean and dry.
Q: I have frequent UTI infections, or my infection came back, why do I need to be UTI-tested?
If you have experienced a treatment failure (meaning you took a full round of antibiotics that did not clear your infection), your doctor needs to find out exactly what type of bacteria is causing your infection. Prescribing an antibiotic that specifically targets that type of bacteria will ensure the infection is treated properly and the bacteria doesn’t have an opportunity to become resistant to antibiotics. Inappropriate antibiotic use can result in multi-drug resistant bacteria that can become a much more serious kidney infection that can result in an extended hospital stay, or even death.
Q: What medication should I take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (brand name Augmentin) is safe to take during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Other antibiotics that wisp provides carry a risk of birth defects in the 1st trimester. As always, defer to the advice of your OB/GYN and let them know what medications you are taking.
Q: Can I take nitrofurantoin if I am allergic to sulfamethoxazole?
Yes, nitrofurantoin is a safe alternative to sulfamethoxazole.
Still have questions? You can always message your doctor from your wisp account! You can also learn more about UTI symptoms on our Learn page. Stay curious!