Talk to a top U.S. doctor from the comfort of home with PlushCare.

Book an appointment Feather-communication-phone
Medication to Treat UTIs

Blog UTI

Medication to Treat UTIs

writtenByWritten by: Christina Wedberg
Christina Wedberg

Christina Wedberg

Christina has been a writer since 2010 and has an M.F.A. from The New School for Social Research. Christina specializes in writing about health issues and education.

Read more posts by this author.

September 9, 2018 Read Time - 4 minutes

What is a UTI?

A UTI is a urinary tract infection that affects any part of your urinary system. Your urinary system contains your urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.

Most infections start in the lower urinary tract which includes your bladder and urethra.

Urinary tract infection (UTIs) are generally more common in women than in men.

Symptoms of a UTI

The various symptoms of a UTI will depend on what part of your urinary tract is infected. Because lower urinary tract infections involve the bladder and the urethra, symptoms of a lower tract UTI may include:

  • Strong smelling urine
  • Urine that looks like tea or cola
  • Cloudy urine
  • Bloody urine
  • Urgent or frequent urination
  • Burning urination
  • Pelvic pain (for women)
  • Rectal pain (for men)

Medicine to Treat UTIs

The most common way to treat the symptoms of UTIs are with antibiotics. These medications help relieve the burning, pain, and urgency to pee that UTIs often manifest. They also kill the bacteria that may get into your kidneys, bladder, or other parts of your urinary tract.

It is important to take all of the medication that your doctor prescribes, even if you start to feel better before you’re finished. A minor case of UTI can quickly turn into something more serious such as a blood or kidney infection.

The kind of antibiotic that your doctor may prescribe will depend on how severe your infection is and what kind of bacteria you are infected with. Your doctor will take a sample of your urine and send it to a lab to determine which type of bacteria you have. Some common antibiotics for UTIs that may be prescribed are:

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

Medications such as Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Levaquin (levofloxacin) are known as fluoroquinolones. Because they have higher risk factors for side effects, they generally aren’t prescribed for simple, uncomplicated UTIs.

Your doctor may also give you a prescription for pain medication that is called an analgesic. This kind of medication helps to numb your bladder and urethra. It will relieve the pain and irritation that comes with urinating.

How Long Do You Take Medication for a UTI?

Your dose of medication and the length of time you take it will depend on whether you have a complicated or uncomplicated UTI. If you have a complicated UTI, it means that you may have a problem with your urinary tract or you may have a disease. If you have an uncomplicated UTI, it means that your urinary tract is normal.

If you have a complicated infection, your doctor may prescribe a stronger dose of antibiotics with a longer time period. If you have a severe UTI, or if the infection has spread to your kidneys, you may be hospitalized and given IV antibiotics.

Other factors that determine which medication you take for your UTI may include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Allergies to certain antibiotics
  • Past history of side effects from antibiotics
  • Over the age of 65

Typically, you will take UTI medication for 2-3 days. However, some patients may take medication for 7-14 days, depending on the severity of the UTI.

After you finish your medication, your doctor may order follow-up tests to determine whether you still have an infection. You may need to take antibiotics for a longer period of time if you still have a UTI.

If it is determined that your UTI is caused by having sex, your doctor may instruct you to take a dose of medication just before you have sex. If you get frequent UTIs, your doctor may prescribe a low-dose antibiotic that you take everyday for 6 months or longer.

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

The symptoms of your UTI should improve within a few days.

Consider calling your doctor if:

  • Symptoms get worse
  • Symptoms haven’t gone away
  • Symptoms come back after finishing medication
  • You experience effects from UTI medication

Looking to get a prescription for UTI medication? Book an appointment with PlushCare and get a prescription today!

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.

Our commitment to you.

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

  • right Tick Image

    Research from sources you can trust

  • right Tick Image

    Medical reviews by field experts

  • right Tick Image

    Frequent content updates

More to learn.

Kidney Infections vs Bladder Infections

Kidney Infections vs Bladder Infections

What is the Difference Between a Bladder Infection and a Kidney Infection? Kidney and bladder infections are both considered urinary…

Sara Menges 8 minutes
UTI Medicine and Treatment Options

UTI Medicine and Treatment Options

If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you want relief from your symptoms as soon as possible—preferably without the…

Jennifer Nelson 6 minutes
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

What Are the Symptoms of a UTI? Urinary tract infections (UTI) are the second most common infection contracted by Americans,…

Sara Menges 10 minutes