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Game-Changing UTI Vaccines on the Way

Game-Changing UTI Vaccines on the Way

If you’ve never had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may not realize how serious they can be. In the U.S., and around the world, they are one of the top reasons people visit the emergency room every year. If not treated, they can cause kidney and prostate infections, or even sepsis.

But, there’s good news for people who suffer from frequent UTIs. A new vaccine that’s been approved in Europe could be on its way to the U.S. The Uromune (MV140) vaccine has so far shown a significant reduction in UTI episodes among patients, as well as a decrease in symptoms. Unlike traditional vaccines that are administered via shot, it’s administered daily over three months using a pineapple-flavored spray under the tongue. Right now, it’s available in several countries including the United Kingdom and is in the approval process in Canada. Larger need to be done in the U.S. to move toward FDA approval.

At the same time, researchers at Duke University are working on another vaccine that shows promise in not only preventing UTIs but treating active infections. Unlike Uromune or traditional vaccines, it’s administrated with a urinary catheter over three doses. The Duke team was recently awarded a grant from the National Institute of Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases to continue their research.

Anyone can get a UTI, though women are 50 times more likely than men to get a UTI. In fact, more than 60% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime. Other risk factors for UTIs are sexual activity, pregnancy, age, poor hygiene and structural problems like enlarged prostates. Most UTIs are not completely preventable, but you can do a few things to reduce your risk. Stay hydrated, practice good hygiene, and eat a healthy diet. Contrary to popular belief, cranberry juice can’t clear up or prevent an infection.

Typically, UTIs are treated with antibiotics. However, a 2019 study found that more than 92% of bacteria that cause UTIs are resistant to at least one common antibiotic. That means UTIs often require a few courses of different antibiotics to find one that will work. Experts suggest asking for a culture when you have your UTI checked out. That way they can make sure your antibiotics are the right ones for the bacteria causing your infection.

If you start to notice the symptoms of a UTI, don’t wait to get it checked out. If you notice a burning sensation during urination, the urge to urinate more frequently, bloody urine, pain in your back or lower abdomen, or fever and chills, visit your physician or an urgent care clinic for a quick urine test. The faster you treat your infection, the more likely you are to avoid a more serious condition.