As many as 7 in 10 urinary tract infections will clear up on their own, making antibiotics unnecessary, new research shows.
Scientists from the University of Amsterdam who tracked the health of women with symptoms of uncomplicated urinary tract infections found 70 percent of those who agreed to postpone taking antibiotics were able to heal naturally.
The findings, published in the BioMed Central journal BMC Family Practice, suggest the vast majority of UTIs will go away without treatment.
The researchers noted that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a growing problem with the number of "superbug" microbes on the rise. For serious bacterial infections, they noted antibiotics can be a life saver, but their findings indicate the body's own immune system is more than capable of fighting off many minor cases.
"Women may be more receptive to the idea of delaying treatment than is commonly assumed by many clinicians," said lead researcher Bart Knottnerus, from the Academic Medical Center of the University. "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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