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A microbiology scientist examining bacterial growth isolated from a patient with a urinary-tract infection (UTI). Photo: Getty Images STORY HIGHLIGHTS A broader approach to addressing recurrent UTIs involves more accurate diagnosis and treatment, closer attention to other risk factors and greater emphasis on patient education and prevention. It is essential to educate women who have been confirmed to have recurrent bacterial UTI to recognize specific triggers. UCLAHEALTH.ORG Comprehensive Approach Needed to Address Recurrent UTIs Addressing the problem of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) among women requires a comprehensive approach that includes more accurate and timely diagnosis, improved use of antibiotics, closer attention to other treatable conditions and risk factors, and a greater emphasis on patient education and prevention. There are an estimated 150-million UTI occurrences each year in the United States, resulting in more than 7-million physician visits, 1-million hospital admissions and $6 billion in healthcare expenditures, notes Ja-Hong Kim, MD, associate professor in the UCLA Division of Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. One-third of women will develop a UTI by the age of 24, and roughly half of these women will have at least one recurrence within a year. Dr. Kim points out that the recurrent UTI population tends to fall 1-844-4UCLADR (1-844-482-5237) into two distinct categories: young, otherwise healthy women whose infections often are related to times of sexual intercourse; and a more complex population of women with a pre-existing urinary tract anomaly or who are elderly or immuno-compromised. “This complex group may need to be started on antibiotics earlier, because the stakes are higher. You don’t want to miss any infections that could progress to kidney involvement,” Dr. Kim says. She notes that the problem of antimicrobial resistance is significant, with microbes evolving faster than the development of new drugs to treat them. “Some physicians are not following the practice guidelines for antimicrobial treatment of UTIs, and many women are being treated inappropriately without confirmatory cultures. Furthermore, inappropriate antibiotics that have potential for collateral damage are being