Is 3 days of antibiotics enough for a UTI?

17th February 2020

Anyone who has ever had a urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI, will know how unpleasant they can be, but thankfully they’re fairly quick and easy to treat. First-line treatment for cystitis or a UTI is a short course of antibiotics that you’ll typically take for three days. But, is three days of antibiotics enough for a UTI? Or, are there some cases where you will need further treatment in order to get rid of an infection.

Are three days of antibiotics enough for a UTI?

For uncomplicated cases of UTIs, three days' worth of antibiotics should be sufficient to clear the infection. In a lot of cases, people taking antibiotics may even notice that their symptoms have vastly improved, or even cleared completely, after only one or two days of taking their prescribed medication. However, it’s important to stress that you should always finish a course of antibiotics as directed by your prescriber. This is to ensure that the infection has completely cleared and that it will not return.

Despite this, some people will require more than the standard three days of antibiotics. Dosage instructions of three days are most common, but they are mostly based on female UTIs. Adult women are 30 times more likely to develop a UTI than men, however, this does not mean that men don’t get them.

Treating UTIs in men typically requires a longer course of antibiotics because the infection is usually considered complicated. Men will normally be prescribed a five-day course of antibiotics, but in some cases, people may need to take the medication for around seven to ten days.

For those who are experiencing recurrent UTIs, you may be prescribed a low-dose course of antibiotics than can last for six months or even longer. This, however, would not be prescribed without proper exploration of the cause of the recurrent infections.

The antibiotics that are most commonly prescribed to treat a urinary tract infection are Trimethoprim and Nitrofurantoin, both of which can be purchased from UK Meds without an existing prescription.

Why are women more likely to get UTIs than men?

Cystitis is extremely common in women, and is actually one of the most common infections that a woman can contract, but, it’s quite rare in men. Women have a much shorter urinary tract than men, which means that bacteria can travel into it much more easily. A woman’s urinary tract is also much closer to the anus, which is another opportunity for harmful bacteria to be spread. Even though UTIs in men are far less common, they tend to be more complicated when they do occur. This is because they are more likely to spread to the kidneys and upper urinary tract, which can cause further complications and sometimes even surgery.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are largely the same for men and women. The most common symptoms are pain during urination, a sudden need to urinate, a frequent urge to urinate and urine that’s cloudy, strong-smelling or contains blood. If you experience a fever, chills, back pain, or vomiting along with the more common symptoms, then this could be an indication of a more complicated urinary tract infection, or possibly another medical condition. If any of these additional symptoms do occur then you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. It will be in these cases that a longer dosage of antibiotics may be prescribed, although this only applies if the diagnosis is a urinary tract infection. 

Is there a permanent cure for UTIs?

Although antibiotics will treat the infection, there is currently no way of permanently curing a UTI. There are ways however of preventing yourself from receiving an infection in the future, but there is no way of completely preventing a UTI. As mentioned, you should always see out the full course of your prescribed antibiotics. If you do not do this then you may not completely clear out the infection, meaning that some will be left in your system. If this occurs, the infection may return and could be worse than before. In order to prevent this from happening, always take all of the medication you have been prescribed. 

How long does it take a UTI to go away without taking antibiotics?

It is highly recommended that you take antibiotics if you have a urinary tract infection. As there are many different types of UTIs, you can’t be clear about which one it is that you have. Some infections will clear themselves up after as little as a week, whereas others can actually worsen over time. It is not a good idea to simply let your body take care of itself as this can lead to harmful circumstances developing. You may feel shy and embarrassed about contracting a UTI, but this does not mean you should avoid treatment. More than half of all women will at some point contract a urinary tract infection, and around 12% of men will too. Do not be embarrassed, and prioritise your health first. 

How can you prevent a UTI?

As previously mentioned, there is no way of completely preventing a UTI, however, there are certain things that you can do in order to prevent a possible UTI. One of the best things you can do in order to lessen the risk of infection is to ensure that you are always hydrated. Doing so will mean that you are regularly urinating, which will flush bacteria out of your system. There is also a theory that drinking cranberry juice can greatly reduce the risk of infection, although this is not scientifically proven. Other ways that you can reduce your risk of contracting a UTI include urinating after sexual intercourse, wiping from front to back after using the toilet, or by changing the method of birth control that you use. For the latter, some unlubricated condoms can harbour bacteria that could lead to a UTI.