UTI - self-care; Cystitis - self-care; Bladder infection - self-care
Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and travel to the bladder.
In people with UTIs, most often the infection occurs in the bladder itself. At times, the infection can spread to the kidneys.
Common symptoms include:
These symptoms should improve soon after you begin taking antibiotics.
If you are feeling ill, have a low-grade fever, or some pain in your lower back, these symptoms will take 1 to 2 days to improve, and up to 1 week to go away completely.
You will be given antibiotics to be taken by mouth at home.
Antibiotics may rarely cause side effects, such as nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Report these to your health care provider. Do not just stop taking the pills.
Make sure your provider knows if you could be pregnant before starting the antibiotics.
Your provider may also give you a medicine to relieve the burning pain and urgent need to urinate.
BATHING AND HYGIENE
To prevent future UTIs, you should:
The following improvements to your diet may prevent future urinary tract infections:
Some women have repeated bladder infections. Your provider may suggest that you:
See your provider after you finish taking antibiotics to make sure that the infection is gone.
If you do not improve or you are having problems with your treatment, talk to your provider immediately.
Contact your provider right away if the following symptoms develop (these may be signs of a possible kidney infection.):
Also call if UTI symptoms come back shortly after you have been treated with antibiotics.
Fayssoux K. Bacterial infections of the urinary tract in women. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, Heidelbaugh JJ, Lee EM, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2023. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:1202-1204.
Gupta K, Hooton TM, Naber KG, et al. International clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women: A 2010 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52(5):e103-e120. PMID: 21292654 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21292654/.
Nicolle LE, Drekonja D. Approach to the patient with urinary tract infection. In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 268.
Sobel JD, Brown P. Urinary tract infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 72.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 4/1/2023
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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