Who knew three little letters could be the source of such misery? For millions of people, a urinary tract infection—UTI—is a cruel and invisible form of torture. Agonizing symptoms can include a burning sensation during urination, the frequent and urgent need to go, fever, blood in the urine, pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area.
Both men and women can contract a UTI if bacteria that normally lives in the colon or rectum finds its way into the urethra and up to the bladder or kidneys. “Women are more at risk because they have a shorter urethra,” explains Lira Chowdhury, D.O., a urologist with Urology Partners of North Texas. “Sexual intercourse, contraceptive spermicides, pregnancy and low estrogen—especially after menopause—all boost women’s risks.””
Millions Seek Treatment for UTIs Every Year
In fact, it’s estimated that half of all women will have a UTI by the time they turn 35. Up to 40 percent of women who contract one UTI will experience a second infection. Twenty to 50 percent of women struggle with multiple UTIs a year. Individuals with diabetes or a weakened immune system are also at risk for recurrent UTIs.
Along with UTIs, men also have a risk for prostatitis, a painful inflammation of the prostate gland often caused by a bacterial infection. Roughly 35 to 50 percent of all men suffer from prostatitis-like symptoms at some point during their lifetime.”
No wonder healthcare providers see about eight million UTI-related cases each year! “UTIs are the most commonly diagnosed bacterial infection in the U.S.,” adds Dr. Chowdhury. “A course of antibiotics is usually prescribed, but prescribing the most effective antibiotic to clear up the infection can be tricky because UTIs are caused by a wide variety of bacteria.”
Hit, Not Miss: Finding the Right Antibiotic
Antibiotics are prescribed based on the findings of urine cultures. With a traditional culture, bacteria from a patient’s urine sample are grown in agar plates (petri dishes). The bacteria are cultured in a gel that helps the microorganism grow. An individual antibiotic is added to each plate to see if it inhibits the bacteria’s growth. For example, if penicillin is added to the agar plate and bacteria do not grow in its presence, the sample is marked “no bacteria seen.” As a result, a round of penicillin may be considered a good treatment option for a UTI caused by that particular bacteria.
“Unfortunately, “no bacteria seen” can be misleading,” says Patrick Collini, M.D., a board-certified urologist with Urology Partners of North Texas. “Some bacteria don’t grow well in a culture, which hinders a physician’s ability to prescribe the most effective antibiotic to clear up an individual’s prostatitis or UTI.”
The Path to Accurate Treatment
A unique and patented advanced test—Guidance® UTI by Pathnostics®—removes the uncertainty of traditional urine culture testing.
“Instead of simply waiting for bacteria to grow, Guidance UTI also looks at the DNA of bacteria,” Dr. Collini explains. “By understanding its DNA structure, we get a clear picture of which antibiotics will most effectively target that bacteria—whether its E. coli, klebsiella, pseudomonas or another strain. It’s a much more precise, so the chance of missing something is pretty low.”
Fast, Precise, Long-Lasting Relief
Because Guidance UTI evaluates the DNA structure of bacteria, it detects a broader range of pathogens than tradition urine cultures—up to 33 percent more. It also concentrates on the types of bacteria likely to cause prostatitis and urinary tract infections. Results are normally available within 24 hours once a urine sample arrives at the lab.
“Through its precise DNA analysis, Guidance UTI is really a quantum leap over the traditional urine cultures that can be hit-and-miss,” says Dr. Collini. “We like it at Urology Partners because it helps us provide our patients with faster, more accurate treatment—and that means faster, more long-lasting relief from painful UTIs and prostatitis.”
Guidance UTI is covered by Medicare and many insurance plans. Talk with your insurance provider for more information about coverage.