Antibiotic resistance elevates importance of testing for UTIs
Posted: March 07, 2023 | Word Count: 738
Have you suffered from a UTI recently? Maybe you've had several in the last year? Urinary tract infections are common, especially in women, though anyone can suffer from one (or many). One of the reasons for persistent or recurring UTIs — infections that last a long time or become more frequent — is rising antibiotic resistance in UTI-causing organisms. New testing is helping combat this problem by providing personalized treatments while reducing the use of medication given without test results, which may not be effective against the bacteria or yeast causing the infection.
Urinary tract infections
A UTI is the most common infection in the U.S. for women, according to the Mayo Clinic, often presenting symptoms like a strong, frequent urge to urinate; a burning sensation when going to the bathroom; and cloudy, discolored urine. About 40% of women will have at least one UTI in their lifetimes, and 1 in 10 postmenopausal women had a UTI in the last year. Multiple infections are common as well, with about half getting a second infection within a year.
"Some people believe that urinary tract infection symptoms all require antibiotics to make it go away. However, testing for UTIs is important to clearly identify the bacteria or the yeast that is the root cause of the infection so it can be treated accurately and quickly to reduce the suffering and to prevent complications," said Dr. Dicken S. C. Ko, board-certified urologist, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (FRCSC), and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).
In cases suspected of having a UTI, a standard urine culture and antibiotic sensitivity test is commonly ordered to identify the antibiotic most likely to kill those bacteria, according to Cleveland Clinic. The problem is this test can identify common bacteria but misses many other organisms that are known to cause UTIs. Additionally, if multiple bacteria or yeast are present — which can occur up to 52% of the time — the test may not be able to identify the individual organisms causing infection.
Antimicrobial resistance happens when germs like bacteria and yeast develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic resistance is impacted by continued overuse of antibiotic prescriptions, essentially rendering them ineffective in treating bacterial infections like UTIs. Additionally, different bacteria within an infection can interact with each other and alter antibiotic resistance. Ignoring bacterial interactions may lead to less effective treatments.
"Because of this resistance, accurate and timely testing is extremely important for treatment of infections like UTIs. That’s the challenge for a long time and with new technologies, we now have new tools to potentially help with the future of diagnosing UTIs. At the same time, we can possibly reduce the overtreatment of symptoms with unnecessary antibiotics that leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant super-bugs," said Ko. "If you think you have a UTI — especially if you've had infections in the last year or a previous treatment that didn't work — ask your doctor about advanced testing like Guidance® UTI."
Guidance® UTI provides personalized results so that health care providers have more information when choosing which treatment would be best for the individual patient. Results are fast — in less than one day at the lab while a typical urine culture can take 3-5 days. Guidance UTI is also shown to detect UTI-causing bacteria in 43% more cases than standard urine culture, and results take into account bacterial interactions, giving doctors more information to make an effective treatment decision.
Learn more at Pathnostics.com and talk to your provider about advanced UTI testing that quickly identifies personalized antibiotic options. This will help give your body what it needs to fight the infection so you can feel better.
Remember, studies have shown that more than 92% of bacteria that cause a UTI are resistant to at least one common antibiotic, and almost 80% are resistant to at least two, according to the International Journal of Health Sciences. If you have recurrent or long-term UTIs, this resistance could be the reason and advanced testing may help.
"The growing rate of antibiotic resistance, particularly in treating UTIs, underscores the need for antibiotic stewardship and improving how antibiotics are prescribed by physicians and taken by patients," Ko said. "Advanced testing for UTIs is one step that supports effective and appropriate use of the right treatment for you."