If you’ve had a urinary tract infection (UTI) before, you know how intensely frustrating this condition can be. You constantly have the urge to run to the loo, even though you actually don’t have any urine to pass. And on the off chance that you do release a few drops, it sends burning shivers throughout your whole body.
What is a urinary tract infection?
This kind of infection occurs when bacteria, either from the skin or the rectum, enters the opening of the urethra and consequently infects the urinary tract. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney or bloodstream infection, which could be fatal.
Many think that a UTI, like other infections, can be easily cured with antibiotics and that is the case for some people. But others are left with an infection that refuses to leave the body and becomes a debilitating chronic condition. In fact, researchers are noticing that an increasing number of people have been experiencing recurrent UTIs that are resistant to antibiotic treatments being prescribed to them by doctors.
Most recently, Vickey Bennett, a biomedical research scientist, revealed the harrowing reality of the infection in her essay Cranberry juice won’t cut it anymore. Her work, which won the Max Perutz science writing award and was published by The Guardian, highlighted that there were up to 60% of women that have experienced at least one UTI in their lifetime. Furthermore, 30% of all infections are most likely to come back within six months. She added:
A short course of antibiotics will clear most infections. But the number of bacteria resistant to antibiotics is increasing.
Given that there is no proper solution to combat recurring UTIs, Bennett has been trying to find a way to repurpose existing antibiotics to target specific areas of the bacteria that could eventually kill it.
She admits that it will take a long time to reach a promising solution, but she hopes that her work will help UTI survivors with the resources they need to eradicate infection once and for all. She concluded:
However, I really hope that my research will support the development of new antibiotic treatments to help patients with CAUTIs, chronic UTIs not treatable with existing drugs, and anyone who is fed up with that burning sensation when they pee.