Because most UTIs are caused by bacteria, the first line of treatment is usually antibiotics. Your provider will choose an antibiotic and length of treatment depending on your history and the type of bacteria causing the infection. Three to seven days of treatment are usually sufficient to cure a UTI when no other urinary tract problems exist. Drinking lots of fluids and urinating frequently will help speed up the healing process. If the infection reaches the kidneys, however, admission to the hospital for IV antibiotics or several weeks of outpatient antibiotic treatment may be required.
Providers may also recommend or prescribe phenazopyridine, a pain reliever that targets the bladder and urethra. Phenazopyridine relieves the burning and frequency associated with UTIs, and it may cause urine to turn a red or orange color.
For women with recurrent UTIs, providers may suggest the following treatment options:
- Take low doses of prescribed antibiotic daily for six months or longer.
- Take a single dose of antibiotic after sexual intercourse.
- Take a short course (three to seven days) of an antibiotic whenever symptoms appear.