UTI Treatment: Antibiotics and Home Remedies 

Medical review: Dr. Sheila Sedicias
Gynecologist
February 2022

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are usually treated with prescription antibiotics from the doctor, like ciprofloxacin and fosfomycin. These medications work by killing excess bacteria, like E. Coli which can cause infection. 

There are also home remedies you can use, like cranberry juice, that can treat an infection that is developing. Home remedies can also be used to complement treatment prescribed by the doctor. 

In addition, it is also important to adopt behaviors like drinking plenty of fluids and ensuring adequate genital hygiene to speed-up recovery and prevent re-infection. 

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List of recommended medications 

The two types of medications most recommended for the treatment of a UTI are antibiotics to kill bacteria causing the infection, and analgesics to help relieve symptoms in the first days. Learn more about the common symptoms of a UTI.

1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by the doctor. The most commonly-prescribed antibiotics for UTIs are: 

  • Fosfomycin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Cephalexin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Azithromycin
  • Doxycycline

These antibiotics should be taken as indicated, and are generally taken in courses of 7 to 14 days. They should be taken even after symptoms have resolved to insure the infection is cured and does not reemerge. 

UTIs can reoccur if antibiotics are not taken for their full course because bacteria like E. Coli can persist, re-multiply and generate a new urinary infection. 

In babies over 2 months, the doctor will also opt to use other antibiotics like amoxicillin with clavulin, or sulfamethoxazole with trimetoprim for example.  

2. Analgesics

Phenazopyridine is a commonly-prescribed analgesic because it acts by reducing spasms and reduces bladder and urethral pain, which can help with symptoms like pain or burning during urination.  

Other common analgesics include acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which can help alleviate more mild symptoms.

Learn more about the specific medications that can be prescribed to treat UTIs.

Natural options for treatment

A natural option for treating UTIs is consuming cranberries, either in its natural form, as a juice, or in capsule form. Cranberries possess high quantities of proanthocyanidins, which impede the attachment of E. Coli along the urinary tract. It can also be used as a preventative. 

Interestingly, about 70% of UTIs can be prevented with the consumption of adequate fluid. You should drink about 2 L, or half a gallon, of water per day. 

Check out the tea recipes you can use to treat your UTI at home. You can prepare these while you wait for assessment, or as a complement to your prescribed treatment. 

How to treat a UTI during pregnancy 

Treatment of UTIs during pregnancy is done using antibiotics. Amoxicillin and cephalexin are most commonly prescribed, as they are safe for use during any trimester. 

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Edited by Tua Saude editing team in February 2022. Medical review completed by Dr. Sheila Sedicias - Gynecologist in January 2022.

References

  • DE CUETO, M.; et al. Executive summary of the diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infection: Guidelines of the Spanish Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (SEIMC). Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 35. 5; 314-320, 2017
  • FOXMAN, B. Urinary tract infection syndromes: occurrence, recurrence, bacteriology, risk factors, and disease burden. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 28. 1; 1-13, 2014
Show more references
  • OLIN, S. J.; BARTGES, J. W. Urinary tract infections: treatment/comparative therapeutics. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 45. 4; 721-46, 2015
  • EXAMINE.COM. Cranberry juice for UTIs: natural remedy or old wives’ tale?. Available on: <https://examine.com/nutrition/cranberry-juice-for-utis/>. Access in 26 Jul 2021
Medical review:
Dr. Sheila Sedicias
Gynecologist
Physician graduated in Mastology and Gynecology by UFPE in 2008 and member no. 17459 of CRM-PE, Brazil.