What Are the Signs That Your UTI Is Going Away?

As far as infections go, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common, especially in women. Antibiotics are the standard treatment, but how can you be sure that the treatment is working, and when is your UTI gone for good?

Continue reading for information on the signs that a UTI is going away and what to do if you don’t see them.

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What Are the Signs of A UTI Going Away?

When you have a UTI, the first thing you notice are its unpleasant symptoms, which can include:

  • burning or pain when urinating
  • blood in the urine
  • frequent and urgent need to urinate
  • strong odor in urine
  • feeling of fullness or soreness in the lower back or bladder

When your UTI starts to go away, these symptoms are the first to disappear. It’s important to remember, though, that while your symptoms may go away, that does not mean your infection is completely cleared. In fact, UTI symptoms often get better just one or two days after beginning your antibiotics, but it takes a few extra days for the antibiotic to get rid of all the bacteria.

So, symptoms that improve do not signify that your UTI is gone; it just means that your antibiotic is working and the infection is starting to go away.

When Should UTI Symptoms Be Completely Gone?

When you have a UTI, it is crucial to see a doctor for an antibiotic prescription to treat the infection. Once you begin taking the antibiotic, your symptoms will often go away within 24-48 hours.

Most antibiotics are prescribed for 5-7 days, though, and it is vital to take the entire course to ensure the infection is properly cleared.

How Do You Know When Your UTI Is Gone?

Unfortunately, you cannot only use the presence of symptoms to determine if your UTI is gone. While your symptoms often go away within a few days of starting antibiotics, the infection usually takes 3-7 days to be entirely eliminated, depending on the prescribed antibiotic and the severity of the infection.

Knowing how long it takes until your UTI is gone is important, as discontinuing medication early can result in some bacteria still lingering in the urinary tract, potentially causing another UTI.

When treating a UTI, your first step is to always finish the course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor, which should clear up your infection completely.

However, once your antibiotic prescription is complete, the only way to ensure your UTI is gone is to take a urine test, which will allow your doctor to check for any lingering bacteria in the urinary tract.

How Long Do UTIs Usually Last?

Most UTIs are uncomplicated, meaning they occur in the lower urinary tract (the bladder) and don’t have any other factors making treatment more difficult. If left untreated, an uncomplicated UTI will often last 3-7 days before the body can fight it off. 

However, it’s important to note that there is some risk with leaving a UTI untreated, as your body might not be able to fight off the infection, resulting in a more severe infection that lasts longer. In fact, several studies show that 25-50% of UTIs can go away without medication in a week, but that also means that 50-75% do not.

With antibiotics, the infection typically clears up in 3-7 days, depending on what antibiotic is prescribed.

These are typical lengths for UTIs, but treatment can be up to 2 weeks for those with complicated UTIs, which can include cases with:

  • pregnancy
  • post-menopausal
  • something abnormal in the urinary tract (e.g., kidney stones)
  • antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • chronic conditions such as diabetes
  • a compromised immune system
  • having a stent, catheter, nephrostomy tubes, or other medical devices

Of particular note is that men who get a UTI are often considered to have a complicated UTI, and their treatment typically lasts 7-14 days just for a bladder infection.

What To Do If A UTI Isn’t Going Away?

In some cases, your UTI may not go away, even when it should have come and gone. This is more common in cases where antibiotics are not taken since antibiotics are generally very effective at treating a UTI.

However, in some cases, the prescribed antibiotics may not cause the UTI to go away, which can be due to a few reasons. The first is that the UTI is not due to bacteria, so the antibiotics will not work, or it is because of an unusual type of bacteria that needs a different kind of antibiotic.

Yet another possibility, which is more common in those who get frequent UTIs, is antibiotic resistance. In this case, the bacteria causing the UTI are resistant to the antibiotic typically prescribed, and thus another type of antibiotic is needed.

In all cases, if a UTI is not going away, it is crucial to see a doctor to inquire about starting an antibiotic or receiving a different one.

When To See a Doctor?

For those who have not taken an antibiotic, it is recommended to see a doctor if your UTI symptoms persist for three days or worsen at any point.

If you have been prescribed an antibiotic for your UTI and are taking it as prescribed, but your symptoms do not improve within 3 days, reach out to your doctor, as they may want to switch you to another type of antibiotic.

How Can DrHouse Help You?

With DrHouse, you can quickly and conveniently get UTI treatments from our online doctors. In just 15 minutes or less, our online doctors can prescribe you an antibiotic to help you treat your UTI and feel better.

Key Takeaways

UTIs are unpleasant infections of the urinary tract commonly treated with antibiotics. When taking antibiotics, symptoms often go away within 2 days, although it is essential to continue taking the entire course of antibiotics.

Since UTI treatment relieves symptoms before all the bacteria are destroyed, taking the entire course of antibiotics is essential. Then, a urine test is the only way to know that the infection is gone with absolute certainty.

If symptoms have not improved in 3 days, or if they worsen in those not on antibiotics, it is recommended to see a doctor, such as those found online in the DrHouse app, to receive an antibiotic (or a new prescription) to help treat the infection.

Sources:

  • Al-Badr, A., & Al-Shaikh, G. (2013). Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women: A review. Sultan Qaboos University medical journal, 13(3), 359–367. https://doi.org/10.12816/0003256 
  • Mulvey, M. A., Schilling, J. D., & Hultgren, S. J. (2001). Establishment of a persistent Escherichia coli reservoir during the acute phase of a bladder infection. Infection and immunity, 69(7), 4572–4579. https://doi.org/10.1128/IAI.69.7.4572-4579.2001 
  • Hayes, B. W., & Abraham, S. N. (2016). Innate Immune Responses to Bladder Infection. Microbiology spectrum, 4(6), 10.1128/microbiolspec.UTI-0024-2016. https://doi.org/10.1128/microbiolspec.UTI-0024-2016 
  • Flores-Mireles, A., Walker, J., Caparon, M., & Hultgren, S. (2015). Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 13(5), 269-284. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro3432 
  • Bleidorn, J., Gágyor, I., Kochen, M., Wegscheider, K., & Hummers-Pradier, E. (2010). Symptomatic treatment (ibuprofen) or antibiotics (ciprofloxacin) for uncomplicated urinary tract infection? – Results of a randomized controlled pilot trial. BMC Medicine, 8(1). doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-8-30 
  • Mody, L., & Juthani-Mehta, M. (2014). Urinary tract infections in older women: a clinical review. JAMA, 311(8), 844–854. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.303 

Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

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