Around 40–50% of women experience at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during their lifetime and 20–30% of these have a recurrence within 3–4 months of the initial infection.1 Recurrent UTI (usually defined as three episodes in the last 12 months or two episodes in the last 6 months) can have a considerable impact on a woman's quality of life. Each episode of acute UTI in young women is typically associated with about 6 days of symptoms, 2.4 days of restricted activities and 0.4 days of bed rest.1 Antibacterial prophylaxis is effective in preventing recurrent episodes, but at the expense of unwanted effects and a risk of promoting bacterial resistance. Here we assess the efficacy of different antibacterial regimens and non-antibacterial alternatives (cranberry, probiotics, oestrogens, immunostimulation, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin, acupuncture and herbs) in the prevention of recurrent uncomplicated UTIs in women.
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