Urinary Tract Infections | Treatment

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How are urinary tract infections treated?

If you are a healthy adult man or a woman who is not pregnant, a few days of antibiotic pills will usually cure your urinary tract infection. If you are pregnant, your doctor will prescribe a medicine that is safe for you and the baby. Usually, symptoms of the infection go away 1 to 2 days after you start taking the medicine. It’s important that you follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the medicine, even if you start to feel better. Skipping pills could make the treatment less effective.

Your doctor may also suggest a medicine to numb your urinary tract and make you feel better while the antibiotic starts to work. The medicine makes your urine turn bright orange, so don't be alarmed by the color when you urinate.

How do I know if the treatment isn't working?

If the treatment isn’t working, your symptoms will stay the same, get worse or you will develop new symptoms. Call your doctor if you have a fever (higher than 100.5 degrees), chills, lower stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting, or if, after taking medicine for 3 days, you still have a burning feeling when you urinate. If you are pregnant, you should also call your doctor if you have any contractions.

What if I have frequent UTIs?

If you have 3 or more urinary tract infections each year, your doctor may want you to begin a preventive antibiotic program. A small dose of an antibiotic taken every day helps to reduce the number of infections. If sexual intercourse seems to cause infections for you, your doctor many suggest taking the antibiotic after intercourse.

What if my child has UTIs again and again?

You doctor may want to check to see if an anatomical (physical) problem is causing the UTIs. If so, surgery may be needed to fix the problem. Some children who have bladder or kidney problems have to take medicine all the time so they won't get another UTI. This medicine is taken once a day.

Bibliography

See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 09/00

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