Best Antibiotic For a UTI
Do you have a frequent urge to urinate or experience pain when you urinate? You may be suffering from a UTI.
If you have ever found yourself asking the questions:
- What is the best antibiotic for a UTI?
- What are the symptoms of a UTI?
- Are there UTI treatments without antibiotics?
Then you’re in the right place to learn more about UTIs and the most effective antibiotics and alternative treatment methods.
How Can I Get Rid of a UTI Fast?
Because most UTIs are bacterial, antibiotics are the fastest way to get rid of a UTI. They are considered the most effective way to get rid of a UTI, when prescribed correctly.
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 the prescribing doctor should ask are:
- What is the most likely bacteria causing the infection?
- What antibiotic is known to combat that bacterium?
In the US there are a few strains of bacteria that are known for infecting the urinary tract. There are also a few commonly prescribed antibiotics known to fight off these invaders. We’ll get into this more later, first let’s cover the basics about UTIs.
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.
UTIs are typically caused by bacteria, although in rarer cases, they may be caused by a virus or fungus. You will only need antibiotics if your infection is bacterial.
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 infection is 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.
The most common UTI symptoms are of lower urinary tract infections and include:
- Burning when urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Lower abdomen discomfort
- Pelvic pain in women
- Rectal pain in men
Symptoms of an 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 moves from your kidneys to your bloodstream. If you are having symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Other symptoms that you have an infection somewhere in your urinary tract 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 to 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.
Given that the medical community has determined these strains of bacteria as the most likely cause of any given UTI, 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.
First Line Antibiotics or 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?
Amoxicillin is not typically prescribed for UTIs. While amoxicillin is a very popular antibiotic and used to treat various bacterial infections, UTIs are typically not one of them.
How Long Does it Take for a UTI to go Away With Antibiotics?
After you begin antibiotic treatment you can expect to feel symptom relief in as little as one to two days. How long the doctor prescribes antibiotics will vary based on the severity of your infection.
For an uncomplicated infection 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.
Antibiotic Resistance and UTIs
It is important to understand that despite feeling better, antibiotics should still be taken for the complete duration of prescribed time. The reason for this is that despite feeling better, there is a possibility that you are not fully recovered and 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 lead to a much worse infection that is harder to treat. This is referred to as antibiotic-resistance and it is a concern within the medical community.
According to statistics, 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. This causes approximately 23,000 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 been taking antibiotics for several days and see no improvement with your UTI there are two main 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 they will refer you 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 2-3 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 people who want extra relief while taking antibiotics, there are many natural remedies that help your body fight off a UTI.
Natural remedies for UTI
While antibiotics have been the traditional treatment method for UTIs for many years, natural remedies are becoming a popular way to treat a UTI.
Here are a few ways that you can treat a UTI without, or in addition to, 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.
Those opting for natural remedies to treat UTIs should be cautioned.
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.
As mentioned before, 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.
Get The Best Antibiotics For UTI Online
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 from the top 50 medical schools in the country and are skilled at diagnosing and treating UTIs.
The average appointment lasts just 15 minutes.
An online doctor can write you a prescription for the best antibiotic for your UTI so you can start feeling better again.
Read more about the best antibiotic for UTI
- Antibiotics for UTI
- Get UTI Medication Online
- UTI Treatment, Prescriptions, and Natural Remedies
- What to do if You Have a Urinary Tract Infection
- Get Antibiotics Online
- Can an Online Doctor Write a Prescription?
- How do Online Doctor Visits Work?
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Maedica: A Journal of Clinical Medicine. (2010). A survey on urinary tract infections associated with the three most common uropathogenic bacteria.
- WebMD. (nd). Antibiotics for UTIs: What to Know.
- Everyday Health. (2017). 7 Home Rememdies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms.