Types of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection

Updated February 21, 2017

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection in the urinary system, which includes the bladder, urethra, ureters and kidneys. UTI symptoms usually include a frequent urge to urinate, pressure in the lower abdomen and a stinging sensation while urinating. Urinary tract infections are typically treated with antibiotics.


Penicillin medications, particularly Amoxicillin, are commonly prescribed to UTI patients. Penicillin kills the bacteria by interfering with the cell walls.


Cephalosporin is another antibiotic that interferes with bacterial cell walls. This antibiotic effectively kills various bacteria growing in the urinary tract system.


Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) is a sulfa antibiotic that is increasingly being used to treat UTIs. This antibiotic has a higher risk of side affects, and can interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.


Quinolones, also referred to as fluoroquinolones, stop the bacteria from reproducing by interfering with their genes. These medications tend to be more expensive than other types of antibiotics.


Tetracyclines cure UTIs by inhibiting bacterial growth. Side effects often include a sensitivity to sunlight and tooth discolouration.


Nitrofurantoin is a fairly inexpensive antibiotic prescribed especially for UTIs. While this medication typically works for bladder infections, it isn't effective for kidney infections.

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