Should You See a Doctor for a UTI or Treat It at Home? | The Woman's Clinic

Should You See a Doctor for a UTI or Treat It at Home?

Should You See a Doctor for a UTI or Treat It at Home?

Know the proper steps to take for the quickest relief from urinary tract infection.

The lower urinary tract can provide access for infectious bacteria to enter the body, sometimes resulting in urinary tract infections. A urinary tract infection may cause one or more symptoms, such as a persistent sense of need to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, frequently passing only small amounts of urine, or urine that appears cloudy, bright red, pink, or brownish.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, see your doctor to find out which of the following methods of diagnosis and urinary tract infection treatment is appropriate for your needs.

UTI Diagnosis

If you have symptoms of a UTI, one or more of the following tests may be performed to help in diagnosing urinary tract infection:

  • Urine Sample — A lab analysis may be used to examine white or red blood cells, or bacteria.
  • Bacteria Sample — Growing a sample of your urinary bacteria to help determine which bacteria are present and which medications will be effective.
  • Imaging — If you experience frequent urinary tract infections, an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be used to help determine the cause.
  • Cystoscopy — If you experience recurring UTIs, your doctor may use a narrow scope to examine the inside your urethra and bladder.


The drug prescribed by your doctor and length of UTI treatment depend on your health and the kind of bacteria identified in your urine. One of the following common antibiotics is used to treat simple

  • urinary tract infections.
  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole
  • Cephalexin
  • Fosfomycin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Nitrofurantoin

Symptoms usually disappear within a few days of starting treatment. However, you must continue the prescribed course of antibiotics—usually for a week or longer. However, depending upon your health and level of infection, you may only need treatment for three days or less.

Severe UTI

For a more extreme UTI, in-hospital treatment using intravenous antibiotics may be necessary.
If you have an ongoing (chronic) kidney infection, your doctor may refer you to a urologist (a specialist in urinary disorders), or a Nephrologist (a kidney disorder specialist) for evaluation.

Frequent UTI

For frequent UTIs, your doctor may recommend:

  • Low-dose antibiotics — for six months, or possibly longer.
  • One dose of antibiotic — after sexual intercourse (if infections are related to intercourse).
  • Vaginal estrogen therapy — for postmenopausal women.
  • Self-diagnosis and treatment — while staying in contact with your doctor.

What to Do at Home

To ease your pain or discomfort until antibiotics can work to remedy the infection:

  • Drink more water — to dilute urine and help flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.
  • Avoid drinking fluids that irritate the bladder — such as alcohol, soft drinks, coffee or other caffeine drinks, or citrus juices while you have the infection. These may increase the frequency of sensing an urgent need to urinate.
  • Use a heating pad — set on warm temperature (not hot), placed on your abdominal area, to reduce bladder discomfort or pressure.

Alternative Preventive Medicine

Research is continuing to study the possibility for cranberry juice to help prevent UTIs. However, research results are not yet conclusive. Some medications, like Weltract, can “support” the bladder and prevent chronic UTI.

Do not drink cranberry juice if you are taking warfarin or other blood-thinning medication.

The Woman’s Clinic, Little Rock, AR

The board certified OBGYN physicians at The Woman’s Clinic provide obstetric and gynecologic care for women in a private state-of-art medical office.

For More Information

For more information about urinary tract infection, or to see a Little Rock OBGYN, contact us by calling (501) 222-4175 to schedule an appointment.


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