The best antibiotics prescribed to treat UTIs include:
- Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, others)
- Fosfomycin (Monurol)
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
- Cephalexin (Keflex)
Do you have a frequent urge to urinate or experience pain when you urinate? You may be suffering from a UTI.
People who are suffering from, a urinary tract infection often ask:
- What is the best antibiotic for a UTI?
- What are the symptoms of a UTI?
- Are there UTI treatments without antibiotics?
- How do you get rid of a UTI without going to the doctor?
Below, we’ll answer these questions so that you can properly identify and treat a urinary tract infection.
If you’d like to make a virtual appointment with a PlushCare doctor, click below to set up an appointment, receive a diagnosis, and get your prescription.
How Can I Get Instant Relief From A UTI?
Because most UTIs are bacterial, antibiotics are the fastest way to get rid of a UTI.
Not just any antibiotic will cure your UTI. Some antibiotics are processed in a way that they never even reach the urinary tract. Other antibiotics may be equipped to fight off another type of bacteria, but not the one causing your infection.
So, how do you know which antibiotic you should get prescribed?
The two most important questions you and your doctor need to consider are:
- What is the most likely bacteria causing the infection?
- What antibiotic is known to combat that bacterium?
What is a UTI?
UTI is short for urinary tract infection, and as the name implies, it’s an infection anywhere in your urinary tract.
Your urinary tract is made up of four parts:
- Ureters (the tubes leading from your kidneys to your bladder)
- Urethra (the tube leading from your bladder to the outside of your body)
The bladder and urethra are the most common location for UTIs.
In rare cases, a UTI may be the result of a viral or fungal infection. However, the vast majority of infections are caused by bacteria, and therefore can be effectively treated by UTI antibiotics.
What is the Difference Between a UTI and a Bladder Infection?
The terms UTI and bladder infection are often used interchangeably. As mentioned above, the bladder is a part of the urinary tract.
If your UTIis located in the bladder then the infection may also be referred to as a bladder infection.
UTIs located outside the bladder, such as those affecting the kidneys are typically not called bladder infections. That said, some people use the term bladder infection to refer to all UTI types, even though this is not anatomically correct.
Symptoms of a UTI
The location of the UTI will determine what symptoms you experience.
Lower urinary tract infections in the bladder and urethra are the most common cause of symptoms, which may include:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Lower abdomen discomfort
- Pelvic pain in women
- Rectal pain in men
Symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection in the kidneys include:
- Upper back and side pain
- High fever
- Shaking and chills
Kidney infections are very serious and can become deadly if the infection gets into your bloodstream. If you are experiencing symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Other symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- Urine that is pink, red, or brownish (indicating blood in the urine)
- Urine that is dark, cloudy, or foul-smelling
- Frequent, intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out
- Feeling tired or shaky
Most Common Bacteria to Cause UTIs
According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information the most common bacteria that cause UTIs are:
- Escherichia coli (E Coli)
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Streptococcus spp. (separated apart from Streptococcus D goup), Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococci were each found to be the third pathogens in different periods during the two-year study.
These strains of bacteria are the most likely cause of any given UTI and first line antibiotics are typically highly effective.
First line antibiotics refer to the prescription your doctor gives you, based on your symptoms, before any official testing is done to determine the type of infection.
In most uncomplicated UTIs, the initial antibiotic prescription will cure the infection and further testing is not needed.
What is the First Line of Treatment for a Urinary Tract Infection?
Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for a UTI.
The best antibiotics for a UTI Include:
- Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)
- Cephalexin (Keflex)
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- Fosfomycin (Monurol)
- Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
- Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
Is Amoxicillin Good for Urinary Tract Infections?
If you’ve taken antibiotics before, you may have heard of the very popular drug Amoxicillin. But, can Amoxicillin treat a UTI? No, while amoxicillin is a very common antibiotic used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, it is not typically used to treat a UTI.
How Long Does it Take for a UTI to Go Away With Antibiotics?
Anyone who’s dealing with a UTI is asking themselves, how can I get rid of a UTI fast? Fortunately, after you begin antibiotic treatment you can expect to feel symptom relief in as little as one to two days. How long your doctor prescribes antibiotics to you will vary based on the severity of your infection.
For an uncomplicated UTI antibiotics may be prescribed for as little as three days.
That said, some doctors may have you take antibiotics for a week, and for complicated UTIs antibiotic treatment can last up to two weeks.
Will a UTI Go Away on its Own?
While the body can resolve minor infections without the assistance of medicine, for any serious UTIs, antibiotics are highly recommended.
If a UTI goes untreated the infection can spread from the urethra and bladder up into the kidneys.
Here it becomes a much more serious infection as the risk of bacteria spreading into the bloodstream increases.
UTIs in the kidneys are dangerous and in some cases considered a medical emergency. If the infection reaches the bloodstream your condition can become fatal and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Antibiotic Resistance and UTIs
Make sure to always complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed to you in order to prevent recurring infections and antibiotic resistance. Even if your symptoms go away, there is a possibility that some bacteria remain in the urinary tract.
By discontinuing antibiotic use too early, you allow these remaining bacteria to reproduce. However, due to their antibiotic exposure, it is likely that the new bacteria will be antibiotic resistant and result in a much worse infection that is harder to treat. This is referred to as antibiotic-resistance and it is a growing concern within the medical community.
According to a 2019 CDC report, 2.8 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. This causes approximately 35,000 deaths a year. It is for this reason that patients are cautioned to continue taking their antibiotics for the remainder of the entire treatment guideline given by your doctor.
Side Effects of Antibiotics
As with any medication, antibiotics do carry a risk of side effects. The most common side effects associated with antibiotic use include:
- Tendon or nerve damage
To learn more about the side effects of antibiotics talk to your doctor about the known risks of the specific antibiotic they prescribe.
What Happens If Antibiotics Don’t Work For UTI?
If you’ve taken antibiotics for several days and see no improvement with your UTI, there are two common possibilities:
- The antibiotic may be ineffective at fighting off the bacteria causing your UTI.
- Your infection may not be bacterial.
At this point you should contact your doctor to discuss a different treatment plan. It is likely that you will be referred to a lab for urine testing. Your urine sample will be checked for different types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that could be causing your UTI.
Your lab results should be back within two to three days, at which point the doctor can give you a new treatment plan for your specific infection.
If your UTI does not go away or comes back soon after treatment, you are suffering from chronic UTIs. You can read more about how to deal with and treat chronic UTIs here.
For those that wish to treat their UTI without using antibiotics or who want extra relief while taking antibiotics, there are many natural remedies that can help your body fight off a UTI.
Natural remedies for UTI
While antibiotics are the most common and effective treatment for UTIs, natural remedies are an increasingly popular way to treat such infections without antibiotics.
- Drink plenty of water to flush the bacteria from your system.
- Get plenty of vitamin C to make your urine more acidic, which makes it less hospitable for bacteria.
- Use a heating pad to reduce pelvic pain.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, nicotine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners because they can irritate your bladder.
- Urinate as frequently as possible to eliminate bacteria from your urinary tract.
- Wear loose clothing and cotton underwear to prevent bacteria-loving moisture from building up.
- Quit smoking to improve your immune system.
- Wipe from front to back to prevent spreading bacteria.
- Avoid using scented feminine products since they can lead to infections.
In addition to natural remedies PlushCare recommends that you meet with a licensed physician to ensure you receive proper treatment.
Appointments as low as $20.
Use our cost checker to see what you’ll pay
Get The Best Antibiotics For UTI Online
Those dealing with a UTI infection often ask, how can I get rid of UTI in 24 hours at home? While most UTIs will not be completely resolved within a day, antibiotics can provide relief overnight.
Fortunately, PlushCare makes it easy for you to see a doctor immediately and have a prescription sent to the pharmacy of your choice.
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, book an online appointment with a top PlushCare doctor to get an official diagnosis and discuss your treatment options. Our doctors are selected exclusively from the top 50 medical schools in the country and are skilled at diagnosing and treating UTIs.
The average appointment with PlushCare takes just 15 minutes.
Let our online doctors write you a prescription for the best antibiotic to treat your UTI so you can start feeling better again.
Read more about the best antibiotic for UTI