What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system. This type of infection can involve your urethra (a condition called urethritis), kidneys (a condition called pyelonephritis) or bladder, (a condition called cystitis).Your urine typically doesn’t contain bacteria (germs). Urine is a byproduct of our filtration system—the kidneys. When waste products and excess water is removed from your blood by the kidneys, urine is created. Normally, urine moves through your urinary system without any contamination.
However, bacteria can get into the urinary system from outside of the body, causing problems like infection and inflammation. This is a urinary tract infection (UTI).
What is the urinary tract?
The urinary tract makes and stores urine, one of the body’s liquid waste products. The urinary tract includes the following parts:
Kidneys: These small organs are located at the back of your body, just above the hips. They are the filters of your body — removing waste and water from your blood. This waste becomes urine.
Ureters: The ureters are thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to your bladder.
Bladder: A sac-like container, the bladder stores your urine before it leaves the body.
Urethra: This tube carries the urine from your bladder to the outside of the body.
How common are urinary tract infections (UTIs)?
Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. Though UTIs are common in women, they can also happen to men, older adults and children. One to 2% of children develop urinary tract infections. Each year, 8 million to 10 million visits to doctors are for urinary tract infections.
Who gets urinary tract infections (UTIs)?
Anyone can get a urinary tract infection, but they are more common in women. This is because the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body) in females is shorter and closer to the anus, where E. coli bacteria are common. Older adults also are at higher risk for developing cystitis. This increased risk may be due to incomplete emptying of the bladder. There are several medical conditions that can be related to this, including an enlarged prostate or a bladder prolapse (a condition where the bladder falls or slips out of its usual position).
If you get frequent urinary tract infections, your healthcare provider may do tests to check for other health problems such as diabetes or an abnormal urinary system that may be contributing to your infections. People with frequent UTIs are occasionally given low-dose antibiotics for a period of time to prevent the infection from coming back. This cautious approach to treating frequent UTIs is because your body can develop a resistance to the antibiotic and you can get other types of infections, such as C. diff colitis. This practice is used very infrequently.
What is Metronidazole?
Metronidazole is in a class of medications called nitroimidazole antimicrobials. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Metronidazole capsules and tablets are used to treat infections of the reproductive system, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, skin, heart, bone, joint, lung, blood, nervous system, and other areas of the body.
Metronidazole capsules and tablets are also used to treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Metronidazole extended-release (long-acting) tablets are used to treat bacterial vaginosis (an infection caused by too much of certain types of harmful bacteria in the vagina) in women.
Metronidazole injection is used to treat certain skin, blood, bone, joint, gynecologic, and abdominal (stomach area) infections caused by bacteria. It is also used to treat endocarditis (infection of the heart lining and valves), meningitis (infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord), and certain respiratory infections, including pneumonia. Metronidazole injection is also to prevent infection when used before, during, and after colorectal surgery.
Does metronidazole treat urinary tract infection (UTI)?
No, metronidazole is NOT recommended for the treatment of urinary tract infection. Drugs commonly recommended for simple UTIs include:
- Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, others)
- Fosfomycin (Monurol)
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
- Cephalexin (Keflex)
The group of antibiotic medicines known as fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin and others, isn’t commonly recommended for simple UTIs, as the risks of these medicines generally outweigh the benefits for treating uncomplicated UTIs. In some cases, such as a complicated UTI or kidney infection, your doctor might prescribe a fluoroquinolone medicine if there are no other treatment options.
Often, UTI symptoms clear up within a few days of starting treatment. But you may need to continue antibiotics for a week or more. Take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed.
In addition, it is important to note that ampicillin is effective, safer and well-tolerated therapy for UTI by G. vaginalis. In contrast, oral metronidazole is effective but not safe with bad-tolerated therapy for the same condition.
How long should I take antibiotics for UTI?
Most courses of antibiotics last for around seven days, but some may be as short as three days and some as long as 14 days.