Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults
Oral antibiotics can treat most bladder infections and uncomplicated kidney infections successfully. In many cases, if the symptoms and Reference urinalysis Opens New Window suggest a urinary tract infection (UTI), you will start taking antibiotics without waiting for the results of a Reference urine culture.
The number of days your doctor will have you take antibiotics depends on your infection and the type of antibiotic medicine.
Antibiotics for recurrent infections
Doctors sometimes advise that women with repeat infections use Reference 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:
- Reference Antibiotics to cure the infection. Antibiotics used for UTIs include sulfonamides with trimethoprim (such as Bactrim).
- Reference 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.
- Other Reference nonprescription Opens New Window medicines for pain. These include acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and Reference nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Opens New Window such as ibuprofen (for example, Advil) and naproxen (for example, Aleve).
Medicines used to prevent recurrent UTIs include:
- Reference Antibiotics, including sulfonamides with trimethoprim (such as Bactrim).
- Methenamine (such as Hiprex).
- Reference Vaginal estrogen (such as Premarin) for women who have been through Reference menopause Opens New Window.
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 pregnant.
What to think about
These medicines are often prescribed in a less costly Reference generic Opens New Window 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 Reference resistant to antibiotics Opens New Window. This not only makes antibiotics less effective but also makes bacterial infections harder to treat.
Many forms of bacteria have become resistant to common antibiotics designed to destroy them. These are called antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance among bacteria that cause UTIs has increased steadily in recent decades. You and your doctor may have to try different antibiotics, and different combinations of antibiotics, to find the right medicine that will kill the bacteria that is causing your UTI. Before starting you on a new antibiotic, your doctor may get a urine sample from you. Results from tests on this sample will help guide the decision on which antibiotic you take next.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology