Treatment of e coli

Learn How to Treat E.coli Sickness at Home

If you feel sick from exposure to contaminated water or food you should consult a doctor immediately to check if you have been exposed to E coli. Since there are no medications or treatments that can cure the infection, your body will ultimately have to fight E.coli on it’s own.

Most adults will recover from the infection within a week, however during that time you may experience severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. It is important to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and fatigue. There is no cure for E.Coli infection but there are ways to help your body combat the illness.

E.coli Home Recovery Remedies:

  • Drink Clear Liquids. Drink plenty of clear liquids, including purified water, clear soups and broths, gelatin, and juices. Avoid apple and pear juices, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Get Bed Rest. Minimize all activities and stay in bed as much as possible. Getting as much sleep and rest as possible is a key ingredient in recovering from any infection.
  • Add Foods Gradually. When you are ready to eat solid foods, stick to low-fiber foods at first. Try soda crackers, toast, eggs or rice.
  • Avoid Certain Foods. Dairy products, fatty foods, high-fiber foods or highly seasoned foods can make symptoms worse.
  • Avoid Anti-Diarrhea Medication. Anti-diarrhea medication will slow down your digestive system and prevent your body from getting rid of toxins.

If you or a loved one develop signs of moderate dehydration including dry mouth, tearless eyes, dark urine, or lightheadedness see a doctor immediately. This is particularly true for babies, young children and seniors which may exhibit more severe blood and kidney problems including fever and weakness. Don’t forget to always work backwards to determine the source of the E.coli infection to protect others and to always practice safe food handling guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease.

Read Next: Differences between E.coli & Salmonella

E. coli Treatment and Prevention: How to Avoid Escherichia coli Infection

Treating E. coli–Related Traveler’s Diarrhea

While STEC-associated diarrhea should not be treated with antibiotics nor antidiarrheals, that’s not always the case for traveler’s diarrhea. Usually, traveler’s diarrhea occurs when an individual ventures to a developing country and is then exposed to bacteria (most often a strain of E. coli dubbed enterotoxigenic E. coli, or ETEC) via food or water to which their body has little to no familiarity. (10)

Here are some treatment options for those who develop symptoms such as nausea, cramping, and diarrhea while traveling abroad:

  • Stay hydrated. Consume plenty of fluids.
  • Take antidiarrheal drugs. Use medication such as Imodium (loperamide), though people who have a fever or bloody stools should not take these, nor should children younger than 2 years.
  • Ask if you need antibiotics. These may be prescribed by a healthcare professional if an individual experiences three or more loose stools over an eight-hour period — or severe symptoms, including fever or blood or mucus in the stools (10,11)

Preventing E. coli–Related Traveler’s Diarrhea

Many areas of Central and South America, Mexico, Africa, the Middle East, and most of Asia are considered high-risk destinations for traveler’s diarrhea. (There is some risk when traveling to Eastern Europe and a few Caribbean islands as well.) That, of course, doesn’t mean travel to those areas should be avoided. Instead, take certain precautions when going abroad. These include avoiding:

  • Food from street vendors
  • Moist foods that are at room temperature, such as sauces
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • Raw or undercooked meat, fish, and shellfish
  • Salads and unpeelable fruits, such as grapes and berries
  • Beverages that contain ice cubes (12)

While the above tips are good for all, know that certain groups of people are more prone to developing traveler’s diarrhea. That includes people with diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, cirrhosis of the liver, or a weakened immune system. Individuals on acid blockers or antacids are also at an increased risk because the reduction in stomach acid can make it easier for bacteria such as E. coli to survive. (12)

Treating Urinary Tract Infections

Some strains of E. coli are a normal part of microbial communities in the gut, but can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI) if they make their way into the urinary system.

Doctors typically treat UTIs with a wide range of antibiotics. Which specific antibiotic is prescribed depends on the type of bacteria detected in the urine. Some antibiotics used to treat E. coli–associated UTIs include:

  • Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid, Macrodantin)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Ceftriaxone (Rocephin) (13)

Notable absences from the list include ampicillin, amoxicillin, and sulfonamides. These antibiotics are no longer go-tos for combatting UTIs, due to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. (14)

For most people, a three- or five-day course of antibiotics can successfully treat most UTIs, with pain and the persistent urge to urinate subsiding after a few doses. (15)

Some strains of E. coli, called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) E. coli, are resistant to many antibiotic treatments. Individuals who are most at risk include those with urinary catheters, a history of recurrent UTIs, or recent antibiotic use. (16) For these people, the following is often recommended:

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

There are numerous ways in which one can help prevent UTIs from occurring. Some at-home measures include:

  • Urinate frequently. Emptying the bladder roughly every two to three hours will help to flush the E. coli bacteria from the urinary tract before an infection can begin. (The longer urine is held in the bladder, the more likely bacteria will multiply.)
  • Wipe from front to back. This helps prevent spreading bacteria from the anal area to the urethra.
  • Urinate after intercourse. Sexual intercourse and contact can introduce bacteria from the anus into the bladder by way of the urethra. But urinating after sex helps to flush bacteria from your system.
  • Consume plenty of liquids. Drinking water (especially after intercourse) helps dilute urine and spur more frequent urination, which flushes E. coli from the urinary tract.
  • Avoid diaphragms or spermicides. These can contribute to bacterial growth and kill the good bacteria that work to protects against UTIs. (18)

Treating E. coli Infections That Cause Neonatal Meningitis

While it’s true that E. coli causes about 20 percent of all neonatal meningitis cases, bacterial meningitis is still considered very rare in developed countries thanks to the success of vaccines.

If neonatal meningitis is suspected, a healthcare professional will draw blood and perform a spinal tap (also called a lumbar puncture) in order to test spinal fluid for the E. coli bacteria. If bacterial meningitis is confirmed, treatment would consist of IV antibiotics and fluids.

With early diagnosis and proper treatment, a child with bacterial meningitis has a reasonable chance of a good recovery. (19)

Additional reporting by Joseph Bennington-Castro.

New material kills E. coli bacteria in 30 seconds

Every day, we are exposed to millions of harmful bacteria that can cause infectious diseases, such as the E. coli bacteria. Now, researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, have developed a new material that can kill the E. coli bacteria within 30 seconds. This finding has been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Small.

“The global threat of drug-resistant bacteria has given rise to the urgent need for new materials that can kill and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Our new antimicrobial material could be used in consumer and personal care products to support good personal hygiene practices and prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” said IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying.

Triclosan, a common ingredient found in many products such as toothpastes, soaps and detergents to reduce or prevent bacterial infections, has been linked to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics and adverse health effects. The European Union has restricted the use of triclosan in cosmetics, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is conducting an on-going review of this ingredient .

Driven by the need to find a more suitable alternative, IBN Group Leader Dr Yugen Zhang and his team synthesized a chemical compound made up of molecules linked together in a chain. Called imidazolium oligomers, this material can kill 99.7% of the E. coli bacteria within 30 seconds aided by its chain-like structure, which helps to penetrate the cell membrane and destroy the bacteria. In contrast, antibiotics only kill the bacteria without destroying the cell membrane. Leaving the cell structure intact allows new antibiotic-resistant bacteria to grow.

“Our unique material can kill bacteria rapidly and inhibit the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Computational chemistry studies supported our experimental findings that the chain-like compound works by attacking the cell membrane. This material is also safe for use because it carries a positive charge that targets the more negatively charged bacteria, without destroying red blood cells,” said Dr Zhang.

The imidazolium oligomers come in the form of a white powder that is soluble in water. The researchers also found that once this was dissolved in alcohol, it formed gels spontaneously. This material could be incorporated in alcoholic sprays that are used for sterilization in hospitals or homes.

E. coli is a type of bacteria found in the intestines of humans and animals, and some strains can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. Such infection is contagious and can spread through contaminated food or water, or from contact with people or animals. Good hygiene practices and proper food handling can prevent

New treatment reduces E. coli, may offer alternative to antibiotics

An E. coli bacterium (above, in gold) attaches to and invades cells lining the inner surface of the bladder. UTIs are among the most common infections, and they tend to recur. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a molecular decoy that reduces the number of UTI-causing gut bacteria. This compound potentially could lower the chance of repeat UTIs. Credit: Scott Hultgren and John Heuser

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common infections, and they tend to come back again and again, even when treated. Most UTIs are caused by E. coli that live in the gut and spread to the urinary tract.

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that a molecular decoy can target and reduce these UTI-causing bacteria in the gut. With a smaller pool of disease-causing bacteria in the gut, according to the researchers, the risk of having a UTI goes down.

“The ultimate goal of our research is to help patients manage and prevent the common problem of recurrent urinary tract infections while at the same time helping to address the worldwide crisis of antimicrobial resistance,” said Scott J. Hultgren, PhD, the Helen L. Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology and the study’s senior author. “This compound may provide a way to treat UTIs without the use of antibiotics.”

The study is published June 14 in Nature.

Close to 100 million people worldwide acquire UTIs each year, and despite antibiotic treatment, about a quarter develop another such infection within six months. UTIs cause painful, burning urination and the frequent urge to urinate. In serious cases, the infection can spread to the kidneys and then the bloodstream, where it can become life-threatening.

Most UTIs are caused by E. coli that live harmlessly in the gut. However, when shed in the feces, the bacteria can spread to the opening of the urinary tract and up to the bladder, where they can cause problems. Conventional wisdom holds that UTIs recur frequently because bacterial populations from the gut are continually re-seeding the urinary tract with disease-causing bacteria.

Hultgren, graduate student Caitlin Spaulding, and colleagues reasoned that if they could reduce the number of dangerous E. coli in the gut, they could reduce the likelihood of developing a UTI and possibly prevent some recurrent infections.

First, the researchers identified genes that E. coli need to survive in the gut. One set of genes coded for a kind of pilus, a hairlike appendage on the surface of E. coli that allows the bacteria to stick to tissues, like molecular velcro. Without this pilus, the bacteria fail to thrive in the gut.

Earlier studies found that the identified pilus attaches to a sugar called mannose that is found on the surface of the bladder. Grabbing hold of mannose receptors on the bladder with the pilus allows the bacteria to avoid being swept away when a person urinates. Bacteria that lack this pilus are unable to cause UTIs in mice.

Previously, Hultgren and co-author, James W. Janetka, PhD, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Washington University, chemically modified mannose to create a group of molecules, called mannosides, that are similar to mannose but changed in a way that the bacteria latch onto them more tightly with their pili. Unlike mannose receptors, though, these mannosides are not attached to the bladder wall, so bacteria that take hold of mannosides instead of mannose receptors are flushed out with urine.

Since the researchers found that this same pilus also allows the bacteria to bind in the gut, they reasoned that mannoside treatment could reduce the number of E. coli in the gut and perhaps prevent the spread of the bacteria to the bladder.

To test this idea, they introduced a disease-causing strain of E. coli into the bladders and guts of mice to mirror the pattern seen in people. In women with UTIs, the same bacteria that cause problems in the bladder usually also are found living in the gut.

The researchers gave the mice three oral doses of mannoside, and then measured the numbers of bacteria in the bladders and guts of the mice after the last dose of mannoside. They found that the disease-causing bacteria had been almost entirely eliminated from the bladder and reduced a hundredfold in the gut, from 100 million per sample to 1 million.

“While we did not entirely eliminate this strain of bacteria from the gut, the results are still promising,” said Spaulding, the paper’s first author. “Reducing the number of disease-causing bacteria in the gut means there are fewer available to enter the urinary tract and cause a UTI.”

The type of pilus the researchers studied is found in most strains of E. coli and some related bacterial species as well. In theory, mannoside treatment could cause other bacteria living in the gut with the same kind of pilus to be swept away, much as antibiotic treatment kills bystander bacteria along with the intended target. Eliminating harmless bacteria potentially opens up space in the gut for more dangerous microbes to grow. This can result in intestinal disorders, one of the known risks of broad antibiotic treatment.

In collaboration with co-author Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor at the School of Medicine, researchers measured the composition of the gut microbiome after mannoside treatment. They found that mannoside treatment had minimal effect on intestinal bacteria other than the ones that cause most UTIs. This is in stark contrast to the massive changes in the abundance of many microbial species seen after treatment with antibiotics.

“This finding is exciting because we’ve developed a therapeutic that acts like a molecular scalpel,” Spaulding said. “It goes in and specifically cuts out the bacteria you want to get rid of, while leaving the remainder of the microbial community intact.”

Furthermore, since mannoside is not an antibiotic, it potentially could be used to treat UTIs caused by antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, a growing problem. UTIs account for 9 percent of all antibiotics prescribed every year in the United States, so a therapy for UTI that avoids antibiotics could help curb the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Differences in anatomy and behavior between mice and women make mice a challenging model for testing whether reducing the bacterial load in the gut actually reduces the number of repeat UTIs. To answer that question, human studies are needed.

Explore further

Researchers identify protein critical in causing chronic urinary tract infections More information: Caitlin N. Spaulding et al, Selective depletion of uropathogenic E. coli from the gut by a FimH antagonist, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature22972 Journal information: Nature Provided by Washington University School of Medicine Citation: New treatment reduces E. coli, may offer alternative to antibiotics (2017, June 14) retrieved 2 February 2020 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Seven ways to treat a UTI without antibiotics

While scientific research supports some at-home or natural UTI remedies, others have been a part of traditional medicine systems for thousands of years.

To treat a UTI without antibiotics, people can try the following home remedies:

1. Stay hydrated

Share on PinterestDrinking water regularly may help to treat a UTI.

Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to help prevent and treat UTIs.

Water helps the urinary tract organs remove waste from the body efficiently while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes.

Being hydrated also dilutes the urine and speeds its journey through the system, making it harder for bacteria to reach the cells that line urinary organs and to cause an infection.

There is no set recommendation for how much people should drink daily, as each person’s water needs are different. On average though, people should drink at least six to eight 8-ounce (oz) glasses of water each day.

2. Urinate when the need arises

Frequent urination puts pressure on bacteria in the urinary tract, which can help to clear them out.

It also reduces the amount of time that bacteria in the urine are exposed to cells in the urinary tract, reducing the risk of them attaching and forming an infection.

Always urinate as soon as possible when the urge strikes to help prevent and treat UTIs.

3. Drink cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is one of the most well-established natural treatments for UTIs. People have also traditionally used it to help clear general infections and speed up wound recovery time.

Studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice for UTIs have had mixed results. According to one review, cranberry juice contains compounds that may prevent E. coli cells from attaching to cells in the urinary tract.

Cranberry juice also contains antioxidants, including polyphenols, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

There is no set guideline on how much cranberry juice to drink to treat a UTI, but a common recommendation is to drink around 400 milliliters (mL) of at least 25-percent cranberry juice every day to prevent or treat UTIs.

4. Use probiotics

Beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, can help keep the urinary tract healthy and free from harmful bacteria.

In particular, a group of probiotics called lactobacilli may help with treating and preventing UTIs. They may do this by:

  • preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to urinary tract cells
  • producing hydrogen peroxide in urine, which is a strong antibacterial
  • lowering urine pH, making conditions less favorable for bacteria

People who take lactobacillus supplements while on antibiotics for UTIs may develop less antibiotic resistance than people not taking them.

Probiotics occur in a variety of fermented and dairy products, including:

  • yogurts
  • kefir
  • some types of cheese
  • sauerkraut

People can also take probiotic supplements, which are usually in the form of a capsule or a powder that mixes into water or other beverages.

5. Get enough vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to improve immune system function.

Vitamin C also reacts with nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides that can kill bacteria. It can lower the pH of urine, making it less likely that bacteria will survive.

As with cranberry juice, people have been using vitamin C in various forms to treat UTIs for thousands of years. But there is a lack of quality research to confirm whether or not increasing vitamin C intake can prevent or treat UTIs.

According to the limited research, taking other supplements alongside vitamin C may maximize its benefits.

In a 2016 study, 38 women with recurrent UTIs took vitamin C, probiotics, and cranberries three times daily for 20 days, then stopped for 10 days. They repeated this cycle for 3 months. The researchers concluded that this could be a safe and effective treatment approach for UTIs.

The National Institutes of Health recommend that for people aged 19 and over, women should get at least 75 mg of vitamin C per day, while men need around 90 mg per day. Adults who smoke should take an additional 35 mg of the vitamin each day.

6. Wipe from front to back

Many UTIs develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces gain access to the urethra, the small channel that allows urine to flow out of the body.

Once bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up into other urinary tract organs where they can lead to infections.

After urinating, wipe in a way that prevents bacteria from coming into contact with the genitals. Use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus.

7. Practice good sexual hygiene

Sexual intercourse introduces bacteria and other microbes from outside the body to the urinary tract. Practicing good sexual hygiene can help to reduce the number of bacteria that people can transfer during intercourse and other sexual acts.

Examples of good sexual hygiene include:

  • urinating before and immediately after sex
  • using barrier contraception, such as a condom
  • washing the genitals, especially the foreskin, before and after engaging in sexual acts or intercourse
  • washing the genitals or changing condoms if switching from anal sex to vaginal sex
  • ensuring that sexual partners are aware of any current or previous UTIs

Currently, researchers are trying to design vaccines that would prevent many types of bacteria from being able to attach to body cells properly.

They are also working on developing other UTI vaccines that prevent bacteria from being able to grow and cause infection. To date, only one type of UTI vaccine has reached preliminary human trials. Studies on the rest are still using animals and tissue samples.

What drugs work?

The drugs that are used to treat urinary tract infections have changed over the years, in large part because of rising resistance. Currently, there are a few “front-line” drugs that are recommended by various expert organizations, such as the Infectious Disease Society of America.

Two drugs that are the most highly recommended for uncomplicated U.T.I.s are nitrofurantoin, sold as Macrobid, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, sold as Bactrim or Septra. Both require a prescription, with doses and time courses that vary with the medication. But there has been growing resistance to Bactrim.

Nitrofurantoin seems to be more effective. Urinary tract infections caused by E. coli were susceptible to it 96 percent of the time, the New York City health department found. But the nitrofurantoin tends not to work in more advanced U.T.I.s where the infection reaches the kidneys, a condition known as pyelonephritis.

An older drug called fosfomycin has been revived as an alternative, but it is considered less effective than either nitrofurantoin or Bactrim. Other second-tier treatments tend to have either side effects or higher resistance rates.

What about other remedies, like cranberry juice?

Science doesn’t back up the healing power of such remedies. However, they might appear to work because many U.T.I.s will clear up over a few days as the body fights them off. In other cases, the symptoms may, in fact, be caused by another ailment that goes away on its own.

How do I know if my particular strain of U.T.I. is resistant to a particular drug?

The only way is to get a urine culture. The lab results will identify the germ and what would be effective in treating the infection. But it can take several days to get the results.

Most patients want an immediate prescription so doctors usually make a best-guess determination of what drug will work given a patient’s symptoms and history.

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