Some women are choosing to avoid using antibiotics to tackle minor urinary tract infections, research shows.
According to figures in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Family Practice, many women found positive results when they chose not to opt for antibiotics and allowed their body to battle the infection naturally.
Some 70% of women with symptoms of uncomplicated urinary tract infections who chose not to go on a course of antibiotics found that after a week they were cured or showed signs of improvement.
In recent years so-called ‘superbugs’, which are resistant to many antibiotics, have been on the rise and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is already a problem for the medical profession.
Using antibiotics too much can increase the chance of bacteria developing a resistance, and while in some more serious cases antibiotics can save lives, they do not work on some viruses.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam asked women with symptoms of uncomplicated urinary tract infections to postpone taking antibiotics.
Of those asked, a third were willing to delay treatment. Of those women, about half had still not taken antibiotics a week later. About two-thirds of these were better or had seen an improvement in their clinical condition.
Dr Bart Knottnerus, from the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, said: “Women may be more receptive to the idea of delaying treatment than is commonly assumed by many clinicians.
“Given proper observations to simply doing nothing, or giving pain medication instead of an antibiotic, is an effective treatment and one which will reduce the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
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