Why not to prescribe antibiotics?
Medication has been developed for curing people of their diseases and relieve their pain, so it seems like common sense that if you go to a doctor because you don't feel well, they will prescribe something for you to take. Your condition should be identified after a process of diagnosis, which could be as short as an interview or as long as a series of medical examinations and tests, and then the doctor should know what you should take so you can feel better. However, you would be surprised to know how many times doctors do identify a condition yet do not prescribe medication. Why would that be?
Most medication is known to cause side effects and have certain risks, so some doctors are cautions and prefer to weight these risks against the benefits. The case of antibiotics in particular is raising some concern among the medical community since many bacteria are known to develop resistance. In other words, they learn how to fight the effects of these pills, and the more antibiotics they're exposed to, the stronger they become against them. For this reason, some doctors prefer not to prescribe antibiotics in some cases, and give a different sort of advice to their patients.
The risk here, of course, is that the infection remains untreated. Some infections do clear out on their own or with other measures such as changes in hygiene habits, but this isn't always the case. Bacteria remain inside the body and may harm it or travel towards other more important organs, causing severe complications and even death.
The risks of ignoring cystitis
Cystitis is an infection of the bladder that often affects women of all ages, especially those over 55. It is caused by bacteria that usually live inside the bladder but sometimes may cause health problems. The infection can be cleared out by a relatively short course of antibiotics, but in some cases a longer treatment is needed. Also, it is very common for patients to have recurrence - the same infection after a short period of time - especially elder women.
Recent research has showed how often cystitis is underestimated by British doctors, who decide to prescribe antibiotics for a shorter span of time than needed. Also, when patients report that their symptoms are back or never went away, the doctors usually dismiss it. This is a very dangerous situation because untreated or poorly treated urinary tract infections may lead to cystitis complications, including kidney faliure or bloody urine.
Some cases have been reported, when women experienced these complications because they didn't get enough treatment in the first place. If you are interested in this story, more information is published here.
Antibiotics for cystitis
Trimethoprim is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for urinary tract infections (UTIs) including bladder infections (cystitis). Trimethoprim courses rarely last for longer than two weeks, but recurrent infections may require a longer course. Your doctor should check your symptoms and perhaps request a urine test in order to confirm that the infection has cleared away. Other common uses of this antibiotic are chest infections.
Trimethoprim can be prescribed online for UTIs, so you don't need to get an appointment with a doctor if for one reason or another you don't want to - some people have trouble finding free time or don't want to wait too long for an appointment. However, be aware that in a minority of cases Trimethoprim may not work or cause you an allergic reaction. If you don't feel better after taking the whole course as prescribed, or your mouth or face becomes swollen, consult your doctor.
Nitrofurantoin is usually the second choice, as an antibiotic it is very similar to Trimethoprim, but it is known to cause more severe digestive side effects. This is why Nitrofurantoin should be taken with or shortly after a meal. Both antibiotics may cause sickness or diarrhea, and Trimethoprim may also give you a skin rash.
With both these antibiotics, as well as any other antibiotic you take, it is fundamental that you follow your doctor's instructions. You must always respect the intervals of the doses and never quit the antibiotic before the end of the prescribed course, even if you feel better, because if you do the infection may come back shortly after. You should inform your doctor about any conditions you have or any medication you are taking, as well as whether you are pregnant, because these antibiotics do not work well in some of these cases. If the infection doesn't clear away, your doctor may want to change antibiotics or run more tests to find out what's going on.