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How Long Should a Urinary Tract Infection Last After Antibiotics Treatment?

In most cases of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs), you will need to take a three-day course of antibiotics and remain hydrated. On the other hand, certain infections may require additional treatment for up to 7-10 days. Antibiotic therapy for complicated UTIs may take up to two weeks or longer. How long it takes to recover is dependent on the following:

  • Which bacteria are responsible for the infection?
  • What type of medication is used?
  • Your previous or present medical history

Symptoms such as pain and the need to urinate frequently resolve fairly quickly once antibiotics are started. However, it is critical to complete the entire course of antibiotics to ensure the infection is completely eradicated, as it can remain in your body for an extended period.

Why should I complete the antibiotic course?

Antibiotics begin working quickly against the infection, and you may feel better within a few days. Antibiotics, on the other hand, take longer to eradicate the bacteria that cause the disease ultimately.

If you do not complete your antibiotic treatment, there is a chance that the bacteria will not be eliminated, which may result in the recurrence of infection. Alternatively, the bacteria may develop resistance to antibiotics and eventually cease to respond to treatment.

Are antibiotics effective against urinary tract infections?

Antibiotics can quickly alleviate UTI symptoms. According to one study, people who took antibiotics felt significantly better after a few days:

  • Within 1-3 days, the pain and burning subsided.
  • After one week, approximately 60% of patients experienced a resolution of symptoms.

Antibiotics may cause the following side effects in some people:

  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches

Can I treat a urinary tract infection (UTI) without using antibiotics?

Without antibiotic therapy, your doctor is unlikely to recommend UTI treatment. Without antibiotic treatment, a bladder infection (cystitis) can worsen over time, resulting in more severe kidney infection (pyelonephritis).

However, a study found that mild urinary tract infections (UTIs) may resolve independently without treatment. If you have any concerns about the severity of your case, you should consult your physician regarding your treatment options.

If you are pregnant and suspect you may have a urinary tract infection, contact your doctor immediately; promptly, failing to treat the condition may result in preterm birth or low birth weight.

What factors can contribute to the persistence of UTI symptoms following antibiotic therapy?

Typically, UTI symptoms completely resolve following antibiotic treatment. However, symptoms may persist if the following conditions exist:

  • Antibiotics are no longer effective against bacteria.
  • The infection is caused by another type of bacteria, fungi, or virus.
  • You have a different medical problem, not a UTI. For instance, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), uterine prolapse, or an overactive bladder can result in symptoms similar to those of a UTI.

Because E coli is the most common bacterial cause of UTI, your doctor may have prescribed antibiotics without performing a urine culture first. If you experience recurrent urinary tract infections, your doctor should perform a urine culture and sensitivity test to determine the antibiotic's effect on the bacteria that cause the disease.

In some instances, underlying conditions can mimic the symptoms of a UTI. They include the following:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Vaginitis
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney infection

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