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What are the Different Urinary Tract Infection Medications?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are unpleasant conditions that can cause both symptomatic discomfort and internal havoc. As bacterial infections, generally the only way to rid the body of the condition is through medications such as antibiotics. There are many types of urinary tract infection medications available by prescription and over the counter, that may help prevent infection, treat symptoms, and banish the bacteria.

Antibiotics are the first line of defense once a UTI is detected. As of 2010, there are no over the counter medications that can stop a UTI, merely those that can help with symptoms or possibly increase immunity against infection. Some antibiotics used as urinary tract infection medications include nitrofurantoin, ciprofloxacin, and sulfamethoxamole. These drugs are prescribed under both brand and generic labels and may need to be taken for up to 14 days in some cases. More commonly, a three-day treatment is sufficient to stop the infection.

Symptoms from UTIs are notoriously uncomfortable, and may include high levels of urinary urgency, burning sensations while urinating, pain during intercourse, and blood in the urine. With more serious infections, fever, muscle aches, and pain in the kidneys and abdomen may occur. Though the first step in treating a UTI is getting antibiotics into the system, symptomatic relief may be needed even several days after antibiotic treatment has completed. Over the counter urinary tract infection medications are available in most drugstores and may help reduce feelings of urgency and other symptoms. Some people also find simple pain relievers to be helpful in reducing the inflammation.

Alternative urinary tract infection medications mostly try to help prevent infections from occurring or stopping them in early stages. These are usually compounds of herbs and concentrates that make the bladder more acidic, thereby making it difficult for bacteria to take hold. Parsley, cranberries, and blueberries are commonly used ingredients. These treatments are not meant to substitute for medical attention or antibiotics, and will not cure a UTI.

Some women are prone to UTIs for a variety of little-understood reasons, and may suffer multiple infections a year. Doctors will sometimes prescribe urinary tract infection medications for people with recurrent infections that may be taken for extended periods, sometimes up to six months. Another method for patients who suffer regular infections is to take one antibiotic pill if symptoms start to appear, or every day the patient engages in sexual intercourse. Taking a low dose of a prescribed antibiotic may sometimes help to kill an infection before it can take hold.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

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Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis


With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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