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BACKGROUND: Despite the considerable morbidity caused by recurrent UTIs (rUTIs), and the wider personal and public health implications from frequent antibiotic use, few studies adequately describe the prevalence and characteristics of women with rUTIs or those who use prophylactic antibiotics. AIM: To describe the prevalence, characteristics, and urine profiles of women with rUTIs with and without prophylactic antibiotic use in Welsh primary care. DESIGN AND SETTING: Retrospective cross-sectional study in Welsh General Practice using the SAIL Databank. METHOD: We describe the characteristics of women aged ≥18 years with rUTIs or using prophylactic antibiotics from 2010-2020, and associated urine culture results from 2015 - 2020. RESULTS: 6.0% of women (n=92,213) had rUTIs, and 1.7% (n=26,862) were prescribed prophylactic antibiotics. Only 49% of prophylactic antibiotic users met the definition of rUTIs before initiation. 81% of women with rUTIs had a urine culture result in the preceding 12 months with high rates of resistance to trimethoprim and amoxicillin. 64% of women taking prophylactic antibiotics had a urine culture result before initiation, and 18% (n=320) of women prescribed trimethoprim had resistance to it on the antecedent sample. CONCLUSION: A substantial proportion of women had rUTIs or incident prophylactic antibiotic use. However, 64% of women had urine cultured before starting prophylaxis. There was a high proportion of cultured bacteria resistant to two antibiotics used for rUTI prevention and evidence of resistance to the prescribed antibiotic. More frequent urine cultures for rUTI diagnosis and before prophylactic antibiotic initiation could better inform antibiotic choices.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Gen Pract

Publication Date



Anti-Infective Agents, Bacterial, Cross-Sectional Studies, Drug Resistance, Electronic Health Records, Urinary, Urinary Tract Infection