People who never had a UTI diagnosed before should first see a doctor for a diagnosis and to rule out other potential causes for the symptoms. In some cases, there can be serious complications when UTIs are left untreated.
Even when you are prescribed antibiotics, you should drink plenty of water and other fluids (at least six to eight glasses per day, or more) to help dilute the urine and flush out harmful bacteria that cause a UTI. Urinating frequently can also help remove waste from the body.
Simple bladder infections may take three days to clear up with antibiotics, while more complicated bladder infections or mild kidney infections may require a course of antibiotics for seven to 14 days.
Antibiotics used to treat bladder infections include:
- Cephalexin (Keflex)
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim)
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid)
- Fosfomycin (Monurol)
Medications to treat kidney infections include:
- Antibiotics: the choice depends on the bacteria causing the infection and the severity of the infection
- Over-the-counter (OTC) fever and pain medications
- Patients who have high fever, severe pain, or cannot keep down food or fluids may require intravenous (IV) antibiotics and fluids given in a hospital
Home treatments such as cranberry juice, cranberry tablets, and a supplement called D-mannose (a type of sugar related to glucose) have been marketed as a way to prevent frequent bladder infections, but there are no studies that demonstrate these products to be effective. However, use of these products is probably not harmful. Tell your doctor before taking any supplements.
What Are Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Symptoms of bladder infections include:
- Urinary urgency
- Urinary frequency
- Pain or burning on urination
- Blood in the urine
- Lower abdominal discomfort
Symptoms of kidney infections may include symptoms of bladder infections as well as:
- Pain in the flank (one or both sides of the lower back, where the kidneys are located)
See a doctor immediately if you have symptoms of a kidney infection, because serious complications may occur if treatment is delayed.
How Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Diagnosed?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are diagnosed with a urine test. These include:
- Urine culture
For recurrent bladder infections, additional testing may be indicated to check for abnormalities in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra, or for kidney stones, and may include:
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