Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment of urinary tract infections. Most people with UTI can be treated with oral antibiotics at home. If the infection is severe or you are at an increased risk of developing complications, admission and treatme
Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment of urinary tract infections. The antibiotic that is prescribed for treatment depends on many factors including the severity of infection, your health condition and the causative bacterium. Treatment also depends on whether the lower or upper urinary tract is infected. The kidney and ureter are a part of the upper urinary tract and the bladder and urethra form the lower urinary tract.
Treatment of lower UTI
Most women with lower UTI can be treated with oral antibiotics at home. You will be given antibiotics for about a week. The duration of antibiotic therapy depends on the severity of infection, your health and if you are at a risk of developing complications because of some associated disease, such as diabetes.
The commonly prescribed antibiotics for urinary tract infections include:
Most cases of UTI respond to treatment in a few days and the symptoms start to clear up, however, treatment is continued for a week or more. You should complete taking the antibiotics for the prescribed duration and dose to ensure that the infection is completely eradicated. In some cases of uncomplicated lower urinary tract infection in healthy people, the doctor may recommend antibiotic therapy for one to three days.
Treatment of upper UTI
Most women with upper UTI can usually be treated at home with oral antibiotics. If the infection is severe or you are at an increased risk of developing complications, admission and treatment in a hospital will be needed. Women with mild to moderate upper UTI are given oral antibiotics for seven to 14 days. The duration of treatment is influenced by factors, such as your health condition and the causative bacterium. The commonly prescribed antibiotics for uncomplicated upper urinary tract infections are the same as those used for treatment of lower UTI.
If the infection is severe or complicated, treatment in a hospital is needed. Treatment in a hospital may be needed for:
- pregnant women
- older women (more than 60 years old)
- women with symptoms such as severe vomiting, severe pain, dehydration, inability to pass urine or passing smaller amounts of urine than usual
- women with blockage in the kidneys, such as a kidney stone
- women with certain diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease, recurrent upper UTIs, HIV, sickle cell anaemia
- women with cancer or those, who are on chemotherapy or radiotherapy
Women admitted to hospital for treatment are given antibiotics in the vein and may be intravenous fluids. Fluid is given to maintain hydration and if needed, the antibiotics may also be given in the IV fluid. Most people treated with intravenous antibiotics improve in a few days and are discharged within three-to-seven days.
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