Antibiotics may not be Suitable Treatment for UTIs

Antibiotics may not be Suitable Treatment for UTIs

Antibiotics may not be the appropriate treatment for some urinary tract infections or UTIs, a recent study has suggested.

UTI is a vague, overused diagnosis that may be applied to older adults who have no symptoms but may have bacteria in the urine and also may be experiencing confusion, falls, or other vague signs (including changes in the odour or colour of urine). In most cases, antibiotics do not benefit these older people.

In the research, Thomas E. Finucane of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore suggested that prescribing antibiotics for UTI may often be avoided among older adults. Further, it is now known that everyone’s urine contains bacteria and viruses and that, these microorganisms are usually helpful to overall well-being. Lastly, in some cases, antibiotic treatment can be harmful, especially for older adults.

Some groups of people do still benefit from antibiotic treatment of UTIs. These individual include the people who are sick enough to require urgent antibiotic treatment regardless of findings in the urine; people with invasive bacterial diseases, especially kidney infections; and pregnant women and people about to have bladder or urinary tract surgery.

The Alternative: L. reuteri (RC-14®) & L. rhamnosus (GR-1®) Probiotic

The RC-14® and GR-1® probiotic strains have been used in combination in dietary supplements since 2004, and they have been described extensively – to date, in more than 1601 scientific publications and 501 clinical studies. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated the RC-14® and GR-1® strains as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).

Jarrow Formulas Fem-Dophilus is one such combination of RC-14® and GR-1® probiotic strains that can be used safely to treat frequent UTIs.

Laboratory Tested Properties

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 has been shown to adhere to cells in the bladder, vagina and intestine. Some people believe this is key to its ability to promote health, but in fact it is only one of the important attributes. The organism displaces and prevents adhesion by intestinal and urogenital pathogens, inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast, can kill HIV and other viruses through its acid production, and stops pathogens from forming clumps or biofilms that are very difficult for drugs to eradicate. It is innately resistant to vancomycin and spermicidal nonoxynol-9. The strain induces an anti-inflammatory effect and modulates factors that would otherwise increase a woman’s risk of preterm labour.

Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 adheres to bladder, vaginal, and intestinal cells displaces and prevents adhesion by intestinal and urogenital pathogens, inhibits the growth of these harmful organisms and can kill HIV and other viruses through its acid production. It produces hydrogen peroxide that many believe is important in vaginal health. It also produces signalling factors that disarm toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus, the bacterium that causes so many hospital infections and death (the ‘superbug’). Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 also possesses immune modulatory activity.

How to Use/ Dosage

In capsule form, when Lactobacillus GR-1 and Lactobacillus RC-14 were taken orally once daily for 21 days, the vagina became repopulated with beneficial bacteria and no adverse persistence occurred in the intestine or vagina. Both strains help restore and retain a normal lactobacilli-dominated vaginal flora, and cure people of bacterial vaginosis.

Clinical Studies

Clinical studies indicate that the combination of the two strains may have beneficial effects regarding women’s vaginal microflora:

  • May reduce the recurrence of urinary tract disturbances
  • May reduce the presence of Candida
  • May improve bacterial imbalances in the vagina
  • May help to restore and maintain a balanced vaginal microbiota

The anti-infective properties of GR-1 and RC-14 are well documented, and their ability to enhance a woman’s immunity is now being uncovered.


  1. Efficacy of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GR-1 and of Lactobacillus Reuteri RC-14 in the treatment and prevention of vaginoses and bacterial vaginitis relapses – Read More
  2. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 on the ability of Candida albicans to infect cells and induce inflammation. – Read More

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