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Doc: Look beyond antibiotics for recurrent infections

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Dr. Roach: I have a problem taking antibiotics that treat infections. For something like a UTI, is it possible to get a one-dose treatment? I tend to panic over side effects, and it would help if I could get just one dose instead of many. I assume that it would come via an injection. Help!


Dear M.G.: At least one antibiotic for urine infections, fosfomycin, comes as a single dose. However, when I see someone with recurrent urinary tract infections that need antibiotics, I wonder why the person is getting them in the first place. In older women, the most likely cause is atrophic vaginitis, a condition that leads to bacteria getting into the bladder more easily. In older men, it’s often a prostate problem that’s preventing the bladder from emptying properly. Men and women can have kidney or bladder stones, which is a risk factor for recurrent infections. Depending on the situation, a CT scan or medical, gynecologic or urologic evaluations may be necessary.

Dear Dr. Roach: I’ve been told that raw milk and bone broth is a good treatment for osteoporosis. Is this true?


Dear P.: Bone broth, made by cooking bones in boiling water, is a source of calcium. It’s a reasonable way to meet a calcium requirement. I can’t find a reference with the exact calcium content. It depends on how many bones are used. Raw milk is another source of calcium. “Raw” means not pasteurized. Since milk has been pasteurized, the number of infections that came from drinking unpasteurized milk has plummeted. I can’t endorse using raw milk.

Dear Dr. Roach: I visited a young optometrist regarding an irritation to my left eye, suspecting I also required a change in my prescription. It was a new office, still somewhat disorganized. After examination, the optometrist informed me that my symptoms were likely eyestrain and a slight inflammation at the base of the eyelash. I required no medication, just an upgrade in prescription.

He also told me the cataracts in both of my eyes were not yet an issue. I had cataract surgery on both eyes 10 years ago! Should he not have been able to see that?


Dear J.T.: A cataract is an opacity in the lens. In cataract surgery, the lens is replaced with an implant. If he did an exam, he should have seen that you have had surgery and have a lens implant. Sometimes eye-care professionals use the term “after cataract” to describe a posterior capsule opacity, which is different from a cataract, since it’s behind the lens. It’s hard to imagine that he mistook a cataract with an implant. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt, because that would be really an egregious error.

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