Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a spherical bacteria that is commonly found in the digestive and lower genital tract of many individuals but may cause urinary tract infections (UTI) in newborns and in immunocompromised individuals. The common symptoms associated with GBS UTIs include frequent, painful urination, low grade fever and abdominal pain. As per an article published in the February 2000 edition of the American Family Physician, GBS is responsible for UTIs in about 5 percent of pregnant women and can lead to serious consequences such as preterm rupture of membranes and premature delivery.
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Antibiotics are the drugs of choice to treat UTIs caused by group B strep. Antibiotics belonging to the beta-lactam family such as penicillin G, ampicillin, and cephalosporins such as cephalexin are the most common antibiotics used to treat GBS urinary tract infections. These drugs act by disrupting the bacterial cell wall, thereby causing leakage and cell death. The antibiotics can be administered orally or intravenously depending on the condition of the patient. The duration of therapy is usually for seven to 10 days and the dosage depends on the age of the patient and the severity of the condition. Pregnant women with GBS UTI should receive the drugs intravenously during labor. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that it is important to administer the antibiotics during the labor and not before that as GBS has a tendency to grow back quickly.
Drug allergies are common with all the beta lactam antibiotics and the signs, as per MayoClinic.com, include rash, hives, breathing difficulties and swelling of the face. Clindamycin and erythromycin are prescribed in such cases, although several strains of GBS are resistant to these antibiotitcs. Vancomycin is the other alternative and works well against GBS infections of urinary tract. Gastric disturbances such as upset stomach, nausea and vomiting are the most common side effects of vancomycin.
Consumption of large amounts of fluids helps to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract, thereby helping with the treatment. At least eight to 10 glasses of water should be taken per day. In patients with severe debilitating infections, fluids can be given intravenously using an IV bag and a hypodermic needle.
Anti-pyretics are drugs that bring down the body temperature and may be used to treat fever that is associated with GBS urinary tract infections. Anti-pyretics such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are available in the pharmacy without a prescription and can be taken as and when required. However, according to MayoClinic.com, aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended for pregnant women. Aspirin is also not recommended for children younger that 18 years of age due to the risk of developing a serious condition known as Reye's syndrome characterized by swelling of brain and liver.
Anticholinergic drugs help relieve the symptoms frequent and painful urination that are frequently associated with GBS urinary tract infections. Anticholinergics such as oxybutynin are available in tablet form and can be taken orally with or without food. Common side effects of oxybutynin include dry mouth, dry eyes, blurred vision, mild constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. Drugs.com also warns against the use of oxybutynin in pregnant women because its effect on the fetus is not completely known.