By the way, doctor: Is it okay to take antibiotics indefinitely to prevent urinary tract infections?

Q. This year I've had four urinary tract infections. Each cleared up with antibiotic treatment. Now, my doctor is prescribing a prophylactic antibiotic, Bactrim 400/80, that I'm supposed to take every day. Are there long-term risks in this?

A. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in women of all ages. They can affect any part of the urinary tract, but most occur in the bladder (cystitis), producing symptoms of frequent, urgent, and painful urination, bloody urine, and lower abdominal pressure or pain. Less often, the kidneys become infected (pyelonephritis), causing low back pain, pain between the upper abdomen and back (flank pain), nausea, vomiting, and high fever.

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