Patient perspectives on treatment and prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a focus group study

Int Urogynecol J. 2024 Feb;35(2):381-389. doi: 10.1007/s00192-023-05682-3. Epub 2023 Nov 18.


Introduction and hypothesis: We sought to understand factors that are important to patients for the management of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) during both an acute episode and for the prevention of future episodes.

Methods: This was a qualitative study with focus groups in women with recurrent UTIs. Participants filled out information about prior recurrent UTI treatment and the Belief about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ). Each 90-minute focus group was moderated by a nonphysician psychologist. Line-by-line coding of each transcript by three independent physicians was used to develop emergent concepts and themes using Grounded Theory methodology.

Results: Twenty-six women participated in six focus groups. The average age of participants was 62 years and 77% were post-menopausal. All women had already tried multiple prevention strategies for their recurrent UTIs. The average BMQ-specific scores indicated a net positive attitude toward medicines specifically prescribed for recurrent UTI prevention. Several themes emerged from the focus groups. First, patients wanted providers to acknowledge the high burden imposed by frequent interactions with the health care system for the management of recurrent UTI. Second, patients wanted earlier access to providers knowledgeable in the management of this condition. Third, patients wanted to self-manage their condition through a structured treatment plan with support from their providers. Finally, patients wanted greater emphasis on education and prevention strategies to reduce their antibiotic intake.

Conclusions: Patients with recurrent UTI want more efficient workflows, a framework that promotes self-management in partnership with their providers, and a greater emphasis on prevention.

Keywords: Antimicrobial stewardship; Health-related quality of life; Patient empowerment; Preventative medicine; Self-management; Urinary tract infections, prevention, and control.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / drug therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / prevention & control


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents