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Although the majority of urinary tract infections (UTIs) aren’t serious, the symptoms they cause may be severe enough to interrupt your daily routine. Antibiotics are usually the best way to treat a UTI, but the medication takes time to eliminate the bacteria responsible for your symptoms. Read on to learn more about how long urinary tract infections last.

When do symptoms of a UTI go away with antibiotic treatment?

Once you start taking antibiotics, symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection typically resolve within 24 to 48 hours. With a kidney infection, you can expect to begin feeling better in 3 to 7 days.  You will likely find that your symptoms go away before you finish taking the course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. This doesn’t mean that your infection is gone. Continue taking the medication as directed until you have used all of it to ensure you fully eliminate the bacteria.

How long does it take to cure a UTI with antibiotics?

How long it takes to fully cure a UTI with antibiotics depends on the severity of the infection, the location of the infection, and how well your immune system functions. The following are rough estimates for treatment time:

  • Lower UTI in otherwise healthy women: 3 to  7 days of antibiotics
  • Lower UTI in otherwise healthy men: 7 to 14 days of antibiotics
  • Lower UTI in people with diabetes or who are immunocompromised:  7 to 14 days of antibiotics
  • Lower UTI in otherwise healthy pregnant women: 7 to 14 days of antibiotics
  • Mild kidney infection in otherwise healthy people:  7 to 14 days of antibiotics
  • Severe kidney infection: may take 14 days of antibiotics or longer and could require hospitalization

How long does it take to cure a UTI without antibiotics?

If you don’t take a prescription antibiotic for UTI treatment, your infection will likely last longer than the time frame listed above. Generally, you should see a doctor if you begin to develop UTI symptoms that persist for longer than two to three days. Without treatment, a minor infection of the lower urinary tract could spread to your kidneys, putting you at risk for organ damage and serious blood infections.

Signs that a lower UTI has become a kidney infection include:

  • High fever
  • Pain in your side
  • Pain in your back
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek prompt medical attention.

How can you support antibiotics for UTI treatment?

To help the antibiotic work as effectively as possible:

  • Drink six to eight, 8-oz. glasses of water per day.
  • Don’t ignore the urge to urinate. Use the bathroom as soon as possible.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear.
  • Strive to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Manage your stress levels.
  • Take the drug as directed without skipping doses.

Make Forward your first step for UTI treatment

Starting antibiotics quickly is the best way to avoid potential UTI complications and get back to feeling your best as soon as possible. As your primary care provider, Forward allows you to easily see a doctor in person or virtually and get your antibiotics delivered right to your door, so you can start to get better faster. Our one-on-one, personalized care for UTIs includes recommendations for home remedies to relieve discomfort, prescription medications, and recommended changes to your habits or lifestyle that may decrease your risk of future infections.

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