What are the best antibiotics for UTIs?

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What’s covered?

What is a UTI?

If you experience painful urination at some stage of life, you need to seek medical attention. This may be an indication of an infection in your urethra otherwise known as a urinary tract infection (UTI), which causes pain during urination. It is commonly found in young adults and accounts more for women than in men, with a high percentage being sexually active women.

A Female has a higher risk than a man because a female has a shorter urethra, and the bacteria can easily travel and attack the female genital organ. In addition, in females, the urethra is close to the rectum, which increases the bacteria's chance of entering the urethra. Poor hygiene can also be a risk factor for UTIs.

Key clinical features of a UTI

The key clinical features include painful urination, urine urgency, fever, back pain, and urinary frequency. Therefore, clinical and laboratory inquiries about the symptoms are imperative to reach the diagnosis.

Women also experience irritations and vaginal discharge.

Painful urination with back pain is considered the harbinger of urinary tract infections. In addition, some factors, such as diabetes mellitus, frequent sexual intercourse, and pregnancy, are considered significant risk factors for urinary tract infections.

In young children, fever is the most common sign related to UTIs.

Clinical findings of a UTI

Generally, urinary tract infections have various signs and symptoms. Most commonly, the patients experience pain during urination. The urine also has a bad smell. Other symptoms include flank pain, vaginal discharge, nausea and vomiting.

Diagnostic studies of a UTI

1. Urine analysis

The patient's urine sample is examined in the laboratory for diagnosis. In the case of urinary tract infection, the urine sample contains abnormal cells such as white blood cells. Other abnormal substances in urine samples include nitrite and red blood cells, which support the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection.

2. Urine culture

A urine culture is performed for the selection of antibiotics. Cultures show specific bacteria, then antibiotics are prescribed accordingly.

3. Radiology study

In urinary tract infection patients, radiographs are performed to know the status of the kidney and associated structures. If there are any complications in the kidney, then timely intervention is needed to curb them.


  • Recurrent infection occurs, especially in female patients.

  • If left untreated, it spreads to the kidney, which leads to permanent kidney failure.

  • Urinary tract infection in pregnant patients can deliver a premature and low-weight baby.

  • Narrowing of the urethra has been experienced in some male patients who previously suffered from urinary tract infections.

Prevention of UTIs

  • Drinking plenty of water can reduce the chance of urinary tract infection. Water dilutes the urine and flushes out the bacteria from the body.

  • Keeping good hygiene can minimise the number of bacteria in the rectum region, and therefore bacteria can't reach the infection site.

How do I treat a UTI?

A UTI occurs if bacterial growth is found inside the urinary tract. Using antibiotic drugs is the best. This medicine kills bacteria that cause infections and works well. Take them as prescribed by your physician.

If a small UTI is detected it can lead to serious kidney infections if not treated immediately. The antibiotics used and the duration depend on the urine culture results.

Antibiotics for UTIs

The practitioners should guide antibiotics selection for urinary tract infections.

The major antibiotics used for urinary tract infections are:

1. Ciprofloxacin

This antibiotic is considered to be the standard therapy against urinary tract infections. It is prescribed when the disease is at an advanced stage. Generally, ciprofloxacin is used in complicated cases.

Ciprofloxacin belongs fluoroquinolone group of antibiotics and is used to eradicate several infections. It is available in both oral and injectable forms.


A dosage of 500mg two times a day in adult patients is effective in relieving the symptoms.

Often, UTI symptoms diminish with taking a few dosages of the drug, but antibiotics may continue to alleviate the disease completely. Therefore the whole course of antibiotics is mandatory.

For otherwise healthy individuals in which the disease has not complicated, the doctors prescribe antibiotics for a short time.

Side effects

Overdose of ciprofloxacin can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea.


In pregnant patients, the drug will be used as per the directions of practitioners, and it may affect the foetus.

2. Cephalosporin.

Cephalosporin is used for the treatment of gram-positive bacteria infection. It belongs to a group of drugs called beta-lactam.

It may be used in urinary tract infection patients who are allergic to the penicillin group of antibiotics.

Along with antibiotics, doctors can also prescribe medications for fever and pain. That helps to relieve the burning sensation from the infection site. In addition, this medicine is prescribed for a fever to lower body temperature.


In Urinary tract infection, 250 mg for 7 to 14 days is helpful to relieve the infection.

If the infection occurs frequently, the medicines may be prescribed for six months. The doctor also advised the patient to change their way of living.

The antibiotics are delivered through an intravenous route in case of complicated infections.

Side effects

Common side effects include skin rash, electrolyte distance, and gastrointestinal upset.

Other antibiotics include nitrofurantoin, trimethoprim, and more.

How long should I take antibiotics?

Your doctors' gonna tell you. The medications are prescribed for a person's health for a period of seven days. Those with UTIs can be given antibiotics for several days. In case of a serious infection, you should probably take the antibiotic for at least 14 days. A urine test can confirm the presence of any infection resulting from taking an antibiotic. Unless your symptoms are worse then it will be necessary to use antibiotics.

If you would like to learn more about UTI antibiotic treatment, click here.

Home remedies

  • Use plenty of water to flush out bacteria from the urethra through urine.

  • Drinks such as alcohol, coffee, and citrus juice should be avoided. It may irritate your urethra.

  • Use a warm pad on the abdomen to reduce discomfort.

Using cranberry juice to treat a UTI

In fact, there has been longstanding evidence of the benefits of drinking cranberry juice. Although cranberries contain a specific peptide that prevents adherence to bacteria within the urological tract, it is not currently known if cranberry products treat urological illnesses.

This is primarily to prevent product toxins from entering our system.

What is the best way to talk to your doctor about symptoms?

Whenever your treatment continues to improve or causes a problem with your symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. In addition, it's important to talk to a doctor before you begin taking your prescribed antibiotics.

When to admit the patient

  • When there is severe pain due to a urinary tract infection, the patient requires hospitalisation for parental administration of antibiotics.

  • When there is urine retention in the urinary bladder due to a urinary tract infection.


A UTI can cause quite a bit of discomfort. If you experience frequent UTIs, it is suggested that you seek the advice of a medical professional to discuss a more effective treatment plan. Before starting treatment for a UTI it is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor with regards to antibiotics and alternative treatment options. When taking antibiotics your doctor prescribes, it is important to adhere to the advice given.

For further information about general health please visit our Health Hub.

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