Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, the ureters leading from the kidneys to the bladder, and the urethra, leading from the bladder away to the outside of the body. Serious urinary tract infections (UTI) where the infection spreads into the blood (sepsis) are usually treated with IV antibiotics in the hospital. Milder cases of bladder infections and kidney infections (pyelonephritis) can be treated at home with oral antibiotics.

 

Symptoms

Some people have no symptoms at all. However, the most common symptoms of a UTI are:

  • Burning with urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Increased frequency and urgency with small amounts of urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Discolored urine resembling cola or tea
  • Strong odor to urine
  • Pelvic pain in women

 

Signs and Symptoms of more severe UTIs and kidney infections may also include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Light-headedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain

 

Treatment of UTI’s

For mild urinary bladder infections, there are four basic antibiotics that are commonly used results:

Bactrim (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) is taken as one Bactrim DS (double strength) pill every 12 hours for 7 to 14 days. Common side effects include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen, painful tongue
  • Dizziness
  • Spinning sensation
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Tiredness
  • Insomnia

 

Macrodantin, Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) is taken by mouth at a dose of 50 mg  4 times a day for 1 week.This medication is taken with food to improve absorption.  Once the infection is over, doctors sometimes prescribe 50 mg to be taken every night to prevent new infections from arising. Common side effects are:

 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Brownish or rust-colored urine
  • Vaginal itching or discharge

Keflex (Cephalexin) is taken orally, 250 mg every 6 hours or 500 mg every 12 hours. The list of common side effects includes: 

  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Vaginal itching or discharge

Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) is taken orally, 500 mg every 12 hours. The list of common side effects includes:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Tendinitis and tendon rupture (while uncommon it is an important side effect to know)

  

It is important to understand that there may be local resistances to certain antibiotics that may make a doctor choose one antibiotic over another. Note that the vast majority of all UTI treatment is empiric. That means that the doctor is using their best judgment to pick an antibiotic without exactly knowing which bacteria is responsible for the infection and whether the bacteria are resistance or not. Therefore, there may be a chance that the antibiotics are not effective and may need to be switched to a different antibiotic.

Did you know? QuickMD can treat your UTI online. Via telemedicine technology our doctors can prescribe you antibiotics online—from the convenience of your home. We can also order urine testing to your closest LabCorp location.

. . . 

Articles on this website are meant for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not delay care because of the content on this site. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call your doctor immediately or call 911 (if within the United States).

This blog and its content are the intellectual property of QuickMD LLC and may not be copied or used without permission.

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