How Long Does a Urinary Tract Infection Last?

By Contributing Writer

Antibiotics

Doctors prescribe a range of antibiotics for patients suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI.) The exact antibiotic will depend upon the severity of the urinary tract infection, the age of the patient, and the patient's unique medical background. Common antibiotics used to treat UTI include Amoxicillin, Nitrofurantoin, Ciprofloxacin, Levofloxacin and Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim.) Depending on the strength and type of antibiotic, the doctor will prescribe an course of antibiotics that will last anywhere from 3 to 10 days. These antibiotics must be taken for the full course prescribed, however, symptoms should improve within two days of beginning treatment. If symptoms do not improve or get worse within two days of seeking treatment, patients should see a doctor.

Untreated

Urinary tract infections do not disappear on their own. Left untreated, a urinary tract infection will spread first to the kidneys and then onto the blood stream, where it can be fatal. An untreated urinary tract infection can spread to the kidney within a few days with certain types of bacteria. The ability of bacteria to spread so quickly to the kidneys is why patients must get treatment immediately upon the first symptoms of a UTI. These symptoms include difficulty urinating, painful urination and cloudy urine.

Chronic UTI

With proper antibiotic treatment, most urinary tract infections heal and do not immediately reoccur in otherwise healthy individuals. However, one out of five women who experience a UTI will experience a second UTI at some point in their lives. While a UTI is uncommon in men, those who do experience one are likely to have repeat infections because the bacteria hides in the prostate tissue and can cause an additional infection easily. Patients who experience more than two infections in six months are classified as chronic. Likewise, patients whose UTI does completely heal within two weeks are also classified with chronic UTI. Treatment of chronic UTI differs from regular UTI, and may require a prolonged period of antibiotic treatment. Additionally, many sufferers of chronic UTI seek homeopathic remedies to help prevent the onset of a new UTI. If you experience UTI, your doctor will prescribe additional texts and X-rays and may, in some cases, refer you to a urologist for treatment.

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