Your health care provider must first decide if the infection is just in the bladder, or if it has spread to the kidneys and how severe it is.
MILD BLADDER AND KIDNEY INFECTIONS
- Most of the time you will need to take an antibiotic to prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys.
- For a simple bladder infection, you will take antibiotics for 3 days (women) or 7 to 14 days (men).
- For a bladder infection with complications -- such as pregnancy or diabetes, OR a mild kidney infection -- you will usually take antibiotics for 7 to 14 days.
- Finish all of the antibiotics, even if you feel better. If you do not finish the whole dose of medicine, the infection may return and be harder to treat later.
- Always drink plenty of water when you have a bladder or kidney infection.
- Commonly used antibiotics include trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, amoxicillin, Augmentin, doxycycline, and fluoroquinolones. (Tell your health care provider if you might be pregnant before taking these drugs.)
RECURRENT BLADDER INFECTIONS
Some women have repeated bladder infections. Your health care provider may suggest that you:
- Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact.
- Have a 3-day course of antibiotics at home to use if you develop an infection.
- Take a single, daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.
MORE SEVERE KIDNEY INFECTIONS
You may need to go into the hospital if you are very sick and cannot take medicines by mouth or drink enough fluids. You may also be admitted to the hospital if you:
- Are elderly
- Have kidney stones or changes in the anatomy of your urinary tract
- Have recently had urinary tract surgery
- Have cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or other medical problems
- Are pregnant and have a fever or are otherwise ill
At the hospital, you will receive fluids and antibiotics through a vein.
Some people have urinary tract infections that do not go away with treatment or keep coming back. These are called chronic UTIs. If you have a chronic UTI, you may need stronger antibiotics or to take medicine for a longer time.
You may need surgery if the infection is caused by a problem with the structure of the urinary tract.