How can I support my UTI antibiotic treatment?

We’ll show you all the things you can do to speed up your recovery


Basic facts about antibiotic treatment of UTIs

So, you just saw a doctor about the pain and burning you experience when peeing and were diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI). Most likely, after testing a urine sample to figure out which bacteria has caused the UTI, your doctor will, or already has, given you a prescription for antibiotics. How long your antibiotics treatment will be depends upon how serious your UTI is.  A mild simple UTI may require 2-3 days of antibiotics, but it can go as long as seven days, and a complicated UTI may call for a two-week course of treatment. To ensure that all the bacteria are killed, it’s important that you follow the instructions of your doctor and take the antibiotics for the full duration of the prescription.

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Bacterial resistance against common types of antibiotics has become a serious healthcare problem in recent years. For example, Bactrim, which is a combo antibiotic consisting of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole, has been found to be ineffective for about 1/3 of UTIs. Therefore, your doctor will first test your urine to determine which bacteria we’re dealing with and pick the appropriate antibiotic. If after 2-3 days of taking antibiotics you haven’t noticed any improvement in symptoms, contact your doctor again, as the medication you were prescribed may be ineffective. A different antibiotic drug may be required.  

How to help the antibiotics defeat a UTI faster?

There are several things you can do to facilitate the effect of antibiotics and speed up recovery. In fact, you can consider these interventions, even after stopping treatment, to aid a full recovey and prevent recurrence.  Helpful measures include:

  • Drink enough water. Sounds simple enough, but it’s easy to forget during a busy day. Staying hydrated increases the amount of urine passing through your urinary tract and, as you pee more frequently, there’s a greater chance of draining unwanted bacteria out of the bladder and urethra. Actually, making it a rule to stay hydrated has lots of health benefits, one of which is preventing UTIs from recurring in the future. 
  • Avoid unnecessary irritants.  During the recovery period, which includes the antibiotic course and a few weeks after, try to avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and citrus fruits, juices, and wine. Also, cut back on sugar intake, as high blood sugar increases the risk of a UTI. 
  • Dress dry and warm.  During summer, dress to avoid excessive sweating.  Use underwear made from breathable materials. If you have a UTI during winter, dressing warm can reduce bladder pain.  
  • Abstain from sex for at least two weeks after you notice the first UTI symptoms. Sexual intercourse risks contaminating your already weakened urinary tract with more bacteria. Frankly, sex also won’t be much fun when you have a UTI. So wait until you have fully recovered.
  • You can try OTC pain relief medication if you think you can’t handle the pain until the antibiotics take effect.  After that, you probably won’t need for pain killers. In fact, if you remain uncomfortable despite taking antibiotics, it’s better to talk to your doctor and perhaps try a different treatment. Azo and Uristat are popular choices to treat bladder pain.

Again, if you don’t notice any improvement within 2-3 days after starting antibiotic treatment, talk to your doctor again. In the rare event that things get worse rather than better, see your doctor right away or go to the ER. This is because a worsening condition, especially when accompanied by nausea, back pain, high fever and chills, may indicate that the infection has spread to you kidneys. This can be a serious, or even life-threatening, condition and requires immediate medical attention. 


  1. CDC. “Antibiotic Treatments for Urinary Tract Infections Are Commonly Prescribed To Pregnant Women.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Jan. 2018, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.
  2. Paul, Rudrajit. “State of the Globe: Rising Antimicrobial Resistance of Pathogens in Urinary Tract Infection.” Journal of Global Infectious Diseases, vol. 10, no. 3, 2018, p. 117, 10.4103/jgid.jgid_104_17. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.
  3. Storme, Oscar, et al. “Risk Factors and Predisposing Conditions for Urinary Tract Infection.” Therapeutic Advances in Urology, vol. 11, Jan. 2019, p. 175628721881438,, 10.1177/1756287218814382. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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