How do you treat E. coli in a urine culture?


Quick Answer

Antibiotics are generally used to treat a urinary tract infection caused by E. coli, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, or NKUDIC. The vast majority of UTIs are caused by the Escherichia coli bacterium.

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Full Answer

More than 8.1 million Americans are treated by doctors for urinary tract infractions each year, making them the second most commonly diagnosed infections, reports NKUDIC. Differences in anatomical structure cause women to be more susceptible to UTIs than men. The relatively short distance from the external opening of the female urethra to the bladder as well as its proximity to bacteria present in the anus and vagina render women particularly vulnerable to infection. The chances of a woman developing a urinary tract infection at least once in her lifetime are greater than 50 percent. Urinary tract infections are less frequent among men but are often more serious when they do occur.

Urinary tract infections caused by E. coli are usually treated effectively with antibiotics such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin and nitrofurantoin, states the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Left untreated, a UTI can spread to the bladder, upper urinary tract and infect the kidneys, which may require hospitalization and additional weeks of antibiotic treatment, reports NKUDIC. Infections originating in the urinary tract can also enter the bloodstream, causing a more serious condition called septicemia, asserts the AACC.

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