Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Factors in urinary tract infection treatment
Treatment for a urinary tract infection takes into account the type of infection and its location within the urinary tract. The patient's underlying medical condition and the degree of severity of the condition also plays a role in guiding treatment decisions. For example, very ill patients with kidney infections or with infections that have spread to the bloodstream usually require intravenous antibiotics. Oral antibiotics can generally treat an uncomplicated urinary tract infection of the lower urinary tract in a healthy individual. In all cases, antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment.
Urinary tract infection treatment with antibiotics
The choice of antibiotics depends on the pathogen (type of bacteria causing the infection) that has been identified or is expected. Some urinary infections are caused by bacteria that also cause sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) and may require treatment with more than one antibiotic. Pregnant women with a urinary tract infection require antibiotics that are safe for use in pregnancy. In every case, the full course of antibiotics should be taken unless your doctor advises you differently. Do not stop taking antibiotics just because the symptoms have disappeared.
Other treatments for urinary tract infection
Phenazopyridine (Pyridium, Urogesic) is a medication that works in the bladder to relieve pain. It can help relieve the symptoms of a urinary tract infection but cannot cure the infection itself. Some people advocate home remedies for the treatment of urinary infections, but the effectiveness of all of these has not been demonstrated. Some of the home care steps can help prevent urinary infections from developing and may have some utility in relieving mild infections, but it is important not to rely exclusively on these, particularly if symptoms persist. Some steps that may be able to help prevent urinary infections include drinking plenty of fluids, consuming cranberries or blueberries (unsweetened berries or their juice), consuming pineapple, or taking vitamin C.
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