Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is an E. Coli infection?"
I received a call from the hospital and they told me I have an E. Coli infection. It was found during a urine test. What is this? Do I have to take antibiotics? They told me I do.
Urinary tract infections (most often refers to the lower urinary tract-bladder and urethra) or UTI are unfortunately very common among hospitalized patients. They are, for the most part, preventable. The major risk factor is being in the hospital, having an in-dwelling Foley catheter in your bladder, and being immune compromised. A typical patient with urinary tract infection are intensive care unit (ICU) patients. E. coli is one of the most common pathogens to cause an urinary tract infection. The treatment is usually taking antibiotics for 3-5 days. E. coli in general are sensitive to many antibiotics so your doctor will have a wide range of drugs to choose from. However, sometimes a rare mutation in the bacteria can cause it to be resistant to many drugs, and in which case you may even require intravenous drug therapy. You should check with your doctor to see what exactly you have, which antibiotics are prescribed and how long you are expected to take it. Occasionally in healthy individuals findings of "some" bacteria in the bladder are inconsequential and do not warrant any therapy other than keeping yourself well-hydrated. On the other hand, if you are prone to having a UTI, have had kidney infections or any other chronic medical conditions, you should not take it lightly as a simple UTI can lead to severe sepsis and even be fatal. Please see a primary care doctor soon.
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