Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are just as annoying as they are painful. Though this type of infection is pretty common, its symptoms will drive many people to the hospital emergency room. Often patients leave the hospital with a prescription for antibiotics.. Most of the time antibiotics, with their various names, do work, but is there a better, natural, and equally effective solution?
Many sources say that it is the cranberry. Some people are aware that cranberry juice, preferably unsweetened, is a great natural remedy for UTIs, and very often, depending upon the source of the infection, cranberry juice is very effective. Of course, most physicians are not going to tout the benefits of cranberry juice, but they will not deny its effectiveness as well. The pharmacy companies, private care doctors and hospitals, do not gain anything from teaching their patients about natural remedies.
It appears that Big Pharma (the pharmaceutical industry) is strongly marketing an antibiotic that is a combination of two medicines, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (dubbed TMP-SMX, for short, and marketed as Bactrim, Bethaprim, Cotrim and Septra). Their claim is that this antibiotic is far more effective than cranberry juice, for those who live with repeated episodes of UTIs.
But here’s the problem; though this drug may sound like a godsend to women who experience the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience of repeated UTIs, research has found that it also has some very dangerous side-effects. Marielle A.J. Beerepoot, M.D., from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, led the study and found that the dangers of TMP-SMX far outweigh the painful symptoms of a UTI, and the fact remains that cranberry juice is still the most effective natural remedy at this time.
UTIs normally affect women, nearly 50% of women will experience at least one in their lifetime. Physicians also prescribe antibiotics as a preventative method for women who have not even developed the infection. This practice is dangerous because taking the antibiotic as a preventative method could cause a resistance to remedies when they are truly needed.
So what are the possible dangers of TMP-SMX?
One reason TMP-SMX, should not be given out so freely is that the drug can have a negative side-effect with patients who are on Warfarin, a drug that helps control the clotting of blood. TMP-SMX can affect the INR levels of these patients. The INR (International Normalized Ratio) is a measurement of whether a patient’s blood is too thin, possibly causing internal bleeding, or if a patient’s blood is too think and is clotting too quickly and too often. This is why the combination of TMP-SMX and Warfarin could be lethal.
Research has found that TMP-SMX can also attack the good bacteria in our guts that assist us to naturally fight off illnesses. These are two very strong reasons to treat UTIs with cranberry and/or cranberry products, which most pharmacies sell over-the-counter. If a patient is having recurring bouts of actual UTI symptoms or infections, the best solution is to have a complete checkup to determine if their is some other underlying health problem that may be causing the symptoms or the UTI itself.