Oral antibiotics can treat most bladder
infections and uncomplicated kidney infections successfully. In many cases, if
the symptoms and
urinalysis suggest a
urinary tract infection (UTI), you will start taking
antibiotics without waiting for the results of a
The number of days your
doctor will have you take antibiotics depends on your infection and the type of
Antibiotics for recurrent infections
sometimes advise that women with repeat infections use
preventive antibiotic therapy. This may include taking
a small dose of antibiotics daily or on alternate days, taking antibiotics
after sexual intercourse (since sex often triggers UTIs in women with recurrent
infections), or taking antibiotics only when you develop symptoms. Talk with
your doctor about which treatment strategy is right for you.
Medicines used to treat UTIs include:
- Antibiotics to cure the infection. Antibiotics used
for UTIs include sulfonamides with trimethoprim (such as Bactrim).
- Phenazopyridine (such as Uristat) to
treat the pain and burning of a UTI. Uristat is an example of phenazopyridine
you can buy without a prescription.
nonprescription medicines for pain. These include
acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as
ibuprofen (for example, Advil) and naproxen (for example, Aleve).
Medicines used to prevent recurrent UTIs include:
- Antibiotics, including sulfonamides
with trimethoprim (such as Bactrim).
- Methenamine (such as
- Vaginal estrogen (such as Estrace, Estring, or Vagifem) for women who have been through
Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are or think you may
be pregnant. Some of these medicines are not safe to use if you are
What to think about
These medicines are often
prescribed in a less costly
generic form rather than under a brand name. A
pharmacist might also decide to give you a generic instead of a brand name
medicine unless the prescription says "no generic."
Take all of
the antibiotics your doctor has prescribed. Most people begin to feel better
soon after they begin the medicine. But if you stop taking the medicine as soon
as you feel better, the infection may return. And not taking the full course of
antibiotics encourages the development of bacteria that are
resistant to antibiotics. This not only makes
antibiotics less effective but also makes bacterial infections harder to