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Best Antibiotic For a UTI

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Best Antibiotics For a UTI

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Umer Khan
Reviewer

Dr. Umer Khan

Medically reviewed by Dr Umer Khan, MD who is a Board Certified physician practicing in Pennsylvania. His special interests include wellness, longevity and medical IT.

February 17, 2021 Read Time - 9 minutes

What is the 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. UTIs are commonly caused by bacteria and their first line of treatment is antibiotics.

Read on to learn more about antibiotics for UTI.

The Best Antibiotics For UTI

The top antibiotics for UTI are:

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, others) – This is a combination antibiotic drug used for treating UTI and other infections. The antibiotic works by preventing the growth of bacteria. It is available in tablet and suspension (liquid) form and must be prescribed by a doctor. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol) – Fosfomycin is an antibacterial drug used for treating urinary tract infections. It kills bacteria that cause UTI. Fosfomycin is available by prescription only in tablet form. Fosfomycin side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, and headaches.
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid) – This antibiotic is frequently used to treat acute UTIs. Nitrofurantoin inhibits bacterial DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis. The most common side effects of Nitrofurantoin are nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting. 
  • Cephalexin (Keflex) – Cephalexin can treat a variety of bacterial infections, including UTIs. By inhibiting the formation of the bacterial cell wall, Cephalexin helps prevent the growth of bacteria causing a UTI. Cephalexin is available in capsule, and suspension (liquid) form.
  • Ceftriaxone – Ceftriaxone injection also treats many different types of infections caused by bacteria. The injection may be administered in a doctor’s office or hospital. Ceftriaxone kills bacteria that cause urinary tract infections and is only available with a doctor’s prescription.

Other Commonly Prescribed Antibiotics for UTI 

Other best antibiotics for UTI Include:

  • Ampicillin
  • Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)

Continue reading to learn more about antibiotics for UTI, including when and how to get cheaply them and how long to take them.

How Long Do I Need to Take Antibiotics For UTI?

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 for your UTI 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 UTI for a week, and for complicated UTIs antibiotic treatment can last up to two weeks.

Antibiotics for UTI What to Expect

Type of UTIDuration of Antibiotic TreatmentExpected Symptom Relief
Uncomplicated/mild UTI2-3 days24-48 hours
Moderate to Severe UTI7-10 days24-48 hours
Complicated UTI14 days or more24-48 hours

Antibiotics for UTI: 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.

It’s for this reason that antibiotics for UTI are highly recommended.

Antibiotic Resistance and UTIs

Make sure to always complete the full course of antibiotics for UTI 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.

Antibiotics for UTI: 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 group), 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 for UTI will cure the infection and further testing is not needed.


Read: Everything You Need to Know About Antibiotic Resistance


Side Effects of Antibiotics for UTI

As with any medication, antibiotics do carry a risk of side effects. The most common side effects associated with antibiotics for UTI treatment include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Tendon or nerve damage
  • Vomiting

To learn more about the side effects of antibiotics for UTI talk to your doctor about the known risks of the specific antibiotic they prescribe.

Is Amoxicillin Good for UTIs?

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 an antibiotic for UTI treatment.

How Can I Get Instant Relief From A UTI?

Because most UTIs are bacterial, antibiotics for UTI treatment are the fastest way to get rid of a UTI and get relief.

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 UTI.

So, how do you know which antibiotic for UTI treatment is best for you?

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?

With this, you doctor will prescribe you an antibiotic for UTI treatment and you should start feeling better in a few days.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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What Happens If Antibiotics Don’t Work For a UTI?

If you’ve taken antibiotics for UTI 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.

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.

Antibiotics for UTI vs Home Remedies for UTI

Are there UTI treatments without antibiotics? While antibiotics are the most common and effective treatment for UTIs, natural remedies are an increasingly popular way to treat such infections without antibiotics.

It is important to consult a doctor to determine which treatment approach is best for you.

Below are some common at-home UTI treatment options that can help relieve symptoms:

  • 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.
  • There is no evidence or proof that drinking pure, unsweetened cranberry juice can help prevent or treat UTIs; however, this is still a commonly used home remedy.
  • 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 these lifestyle changes, PlushCare recommends that you meet with a licensed physician to ensure you receive proper treatment, including any necessary antibiotics for UTI treatment.

How Do You Get Antibiotics For UTI Without Going to a Doctor?

While you still need to see a doctor in order to get antibiotics for UTI, you do not have to physically go to a doctor’s appointment.

With PlushCare, you can schedule a virtual consultation with a doctor from the comfort of your own home. Make an appointment today to speak with a trusted physician and get UTI treatment by video or phone.

Appointments as low as $20.

Use our cost checker to see what you'll pay

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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 for UTI may provide relief in a matter of hours. 

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 in as little as 15 minutes. 

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 and same-day appointments are available.

See an online doctor and get a prescription for the best antibiotic for UTI treatment so you can start to feel better again.


Read More About The Best Antibiotic for UTI


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

cdc.gov. 2019 AR Threats Report. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/threats-report/2019-ar-threats-report-508.pdf

Maedica: A Journal of Clinical Medicine. A survey on urinary tract infections associated with the three most common uropathogenic bacteria.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150015/

American Urological Association. Urinary Tract Infection. https://www.auanet.org/documents/education/NMSC-Adult-UTI.pdf

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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