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Urinary tract infection - (UTI)
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Urinary tract infection - (UTI)

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If your symptoms are typical and you're generally in good health, antibiotics are the first line of treatment for most UTIs. Which drugs you use and for how long depends on your health condition and the bacteria found in your urine tests. Drugs most commonly recommended for simple UTIs include amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox), nitrofurantoin (Furadantin, Macrodantin), trimethoprim (Trimpex, Proloprim), and the antibiotic combination sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra). Make sure your doctor is aware of any other medications you're taking or any allergies you have. This will help him or her select the best treatment.

Usually, UTI symptoms clear up within a few days of treatment. But you may need to continue antibiotics for a week or more. Take the entire course of antibiotics recommended by your doctor to ensure that the infection is completely eradicated. For an uncomplicated UTI that occurs when you're otherwise healthy, your doctor may recommend a shorter course of treatment, such as taking an antibiotic for three days. But whether this short course of treatment is adequate to treat your UTI depends on your particular symptoms and medical history.

If you have recurrent UTIs, your doctor may recommend a self-treatment program with short courses of antibiotics or a longer course of antibiotic treatment. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in urinary disorders (urologist) or a doctor whose specialty is kidneys (nephrologists) for an evaluation to determine if urologic abnormalities may be causing the infections. For a woman with infections related to sexual activity, a doctor may recommend taking a single dose of antibiotic after sexual intercourse.

For severe UTIs, hospitalization and treatment with intravenous antibiotics may be necessary. When recurrences are frequent or a kidney infection becomes chronic, your doctor will likely recommend that you seek medical care from a specialist who can identify underlying and potentially treatable causes.


You can take steps to reduce your risk of urinary tract infections. Women in particular may benefit from the following:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Cranberry juice may have infection-fighting properties. However, don't drink cranberry juice if you're taking the blood-thinning medication warfarin. Possible interactions between cranberry juice and warfarin can lead to bleeding.

  • Urinate frequently. Avoid retaining your urine for a long time after you feel the urge to void.

  • Wipe from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.

  • Empty your bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.

  • Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area, can irritate the urethra.



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