A UTI is usually treated with a course of antibiotics. The type, concentration, and length of drug therapy will depend on:
- Which specific bacteria is/are present
- What drugs the bacteria is/are susceptible to
- How much of the urinary tract is involved
- The health/allergies of the infected person
- Whether or not the person is having recurrent UTIs
- Whether the infection is acute or chronic
- Whether the antimicrobial is being used as a preventive measure or to treat an existing infection
- Whether the infection has spread to the blood
In a complicated or recurrent UTI, the infection may be due to more than one bacterium and the doctor will need to select an antimicrobial or a combination of antibiotics that will treat all of the bacteria causing the infection. If the infection has spread to the kidneys, the affected person may require several months of treatment. This is also true if the person is a male whose prostate has become infected.
If someone is particularly prone to recurrent infections and/or particularly vulnerable to kidney damage, his or her doctor may recommend preventive antimicrobials, either on a continuing basis or during times of increased risk.
If an infection is due to a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, the doctor will prescribe specific drugs that have been proven to be effective against these organisms. If a person is sexually active and experiencing recurrent UTIs, it may be due to an asymptomatic infection in his or her partner. In some cases, both partners will need to be treated. If a woman is on oral contraceptives, she may want to talk to her doctor as some antimicrobials can lessen their effectiveness.
If a woman is on antimicrobial therapy for several days, there is a chance that she may develop diarrhea or a vaginal yeast infection. This is because the drugs also kill good/normal bacteria and upset the balance of bacteria in the body. If this happens, additional treatment may be required.
Sometimes recurrent or chronic UTIs will occur until an underlying structural abnormality, stone, obstruction, or disease or condition is addressed. For some conditions, surgery may be required to correct the underlying problem.