Health: Treat cystitis without antibiotics

Health: Treat cystitis without antibiotics

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Antibiotics for bladder infections are unnecessary in many cases

Many people think of the cold season when they get a bladder infection, but the infection often occurs in summer. In many cases this has to do with the fact that wet bathing suits are not removed quickly enough. Unfortunately, urinary tract infections are still often treated with an antibiotic. However, other medications or simple natural products can often alleviate the symptoms.

Bladder infections also spread in summer

Bladder infections are often associated with the cold season, but the infection also occurs frequently in the summer months. Because when wet swimwear is not taken off quickly enough or the coolness of the evening is underestimated, bacteria make it involuntarily easy. Urinary tract infections are often treated immediately with antibiotics. But in many cases, such drugs are unnecessary in this clinical picture. In addition, their uncritical use contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance. This is pointed out by the German Society for Infectious Diseases e. V. (DGI) in a current release published by the Science Information Service (idw).

Women are affected much more often

"Constant urge to urinate and pain when urinating - a urinary tract infection (cystitis) is more than unpleasant," wrote the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) on their website.

"Every second woman has so-called cystitis at least once in her life," said the experts.

According to the DGI, every fourth to fifth affected person suffers from recurrent infections, some of which flare up several times a year.

Men are significantly less affected by urinary tract infections. There are anatomical reasons for this, because the ureter is much shorter in women, so that invading bacteria can penetrate the urinary bladder more quickly and settle there.

It is usually intestinal bacteria of the E-scherichia coli type that cause the unpleasant infection. But other bacteria are also possible as pathogens.

One of the most common reasons for prescribing antibiotics

"The uncomplicated urinary tract infection is one of those infections where an antibiotic is often used hastily and unnecessarily," explains Professor Dr. med. Gerd Fätkenheuer, Head of Infectious Diseases at the University Clinic in Cologne and Chairman of the DGI.

"After respiratory infections, they are the most common reason for prescribing antibiotics - there is huge savings potential in terms of antibiotic consumption."

Because unnecessary and too frequent use of antibiotics helps make more and more bacteria resistant to the important medicines.

Illness often heals without medication

According to medical experts, a large part of all bladder infections heal without medication. Basically, a lot should be drunk to flush the bacteria out of the bladder.

It can be two to two and a half liters a day. You can also alleviate the symptoms with a hot water bottle on your stomach.

With a mild course of the disease, various home remedies for cystitis are available with which you can treat yourself.

For example, nettle tea, bearberry leaves or juniper can have a healing effect. According to experts, cranberries also play a special role in natural remedies.

In the case of extremely severe pain, flank pain or persistent blood in the urine, a doctor should definitely decide whether drug treatment is useful.

It doesn't always have to be an antibiotic

But even if drugs are used, they don't always have to be antibiotics.

The DGI reports that uncomplicated cystitis often heals without consequences even if the symptoms are only relieved with pain relievers.

According to the experts, the ICUTI study showed that about two thirds of the 494 patients with uncomplicated urinary tract infection recovered even without an antibiotic.

A purely symptomatic treatment with an anti-inflammatory pain reliever was therefore sufficient. However, in every third patient the symptoms persisted for too long or worsened that antibiotics still had to be treated.

"However, these findings should not be understood as an invitation to self-therapy," says Fätkenheuer.

Uncomplicated urinary tract infections, which make up about 90 percent of all urinary tract infections, are also a case for the doctor, according to the expert. In consultation with the doctor, the therapy can initially be carried out without antibiotics.

Prevention through high fluid intake

There is also current knowledge on prophylaxis of urinary tract infections, based on an old piece of advice: Drinking a lot prevents cystitis.

"The effectiveness of this old home remedy is now scientifically well documented," says Fätkenheuer.

A study published in the specialist magazine "JAMA" at the end of 2018 showed that women with recurrent urinary tract infections benefit greatly from increased fluid intake.

By increasing their daily drinking volume from 1.5 to three liters, the study participants were able to almost halve the number of their annual urinary tract infections from an average of 3.3 to 1.7.

At the same time, the number of antibiotic prescriptions fell by almost half. (ad)

More interesting articles on this topic can be found here:

  • Bladder infection (cystitis) urinary tract infection
  • Cystitis after sex- what women can do about it
  • So prevent cystitis

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • German Society for Infectious Diseases: DGI: Summer ailments Cystitis - Treat without antibiotics for the first time, (accessed: July 23, 2019), Science Information Service
  • Techniker Krankenkasse: Inflammation of the bladder - a topic for women, (accessed: 23.07.2019), Techniker Krankenkasse
  • The BMJ: Ibuprofen versus fosfomycin for uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women: randomized controlled trial, (accessed: July 23, 2019), The BMJ
  • JAMA Internal Medicine: Effect of Increased Daily Water Intake in Premenopausal Women With Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections, (accessed: July 23, 2019), JAMA Internal Medicine

Video: Antibiotic Awareness: Urinary Tract Infection UTI, Cystitis or Bladder Infection (August 2022).