Center for Advanced Practice


Treatment and Prevention of Recurrent Lower Urinary Tract Infections in Women: A Rapid Review with Practice Recommendations.

Publication Title

The Journal of urology

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PubMed ID



PURPOSE: Recurrent lower urinary tract infections in women are a highly prevalent and burdensome condition for which best practice guidelines for treatment and prevention that minimize harm and optimize well-being are greatly needed. To inform development of practice recommendations, a rapid literature review of original research, systematic reviews, meta-analyses and practice guidelines was conducted.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: PubMed®, Embase®, Opus, Scopus®, Google Scholar, The Cochrane Library and the U.S. National Guideline Clearinghouse electronic databases were searched from inception to September 22, 2017. Articles and practice guidelines were included if they were in English, were peer reviewed, included women, involved treatment or prevention strategies for recurrent urinary tract infection and reported an outcome related to recurrence rates of urinary tract infection. Critical appraisal of original studies was conducted using the Cochrane risk of bias tool, and of systematic reviews using the AMSTAR 2 tool.

RESULTS: Of 1,582 citations identified 74 met our study inclusion criteria. These comprised 49 randomized controlled trials, 23 systematic reviews (16 with meta-analyses) and 2 practice guidelines. No study reported a multi-targeted treatment approach. There was a lack of high quality studies and systematic reviews evaluating prevention strategies for recurrent urinary tract infection.

CONCLUSIONS: We recommend an algorithmic approach to care that includes education on lifestyle and behavioral modifications, and addresses specific populations of women with antimicrobial based and nonantibiotic alternatives. This approach includes the use of vaginal estrogen with or without lactobacillus containing probiotics in postmenopausal women, low dose post-coital antibiotics for recurrent urinary tract infection associated with sexual activity in premenopausal women, low dose daily antibiotic prophylaxis in premenopausal women with infections unrelated to sexual activity, and methenamine hippurate and/or lactobacillus containing probiotics as nonantibiotic alternatives. Future research should involve consistent use of terminology, validated instruments to assess response to interventions and patient perspectives on care. Our treatment algorithm is based on the best available evidence, and fills a gap in the literature and practice regarding effective strategies to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection in women.


Anti-Bacterial Agents, Antibiotic Prophylaxis, Female, Humans, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Recurrence, Secondary Prevention, Urinary Tract Infections



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