How fast do antibiotics work for a UTI?

Updated April 17, 2017

Antibiotics should begin making a noticeable change in a patient's urinary tract infection (UTI) within two days. Antibiotics will not completely clear up the bacteria causing the infection during this time period, but the symptoms of a UTI should begin to lessen within two days of the first dose. These symptoms include burning during urination, frequent urination and difficulty in urinating.


Bactrim, amoxicillin, nitrofurantoin, ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin are common antibiotics prescribed for UTIs, and these drugs are typically prescribed for a course of three to 10 days. The exact time frame will depend upon a variety of factors, including the precise antibiotic prescribed, the patient's age, the severity of infection and the patient's general medical health.


If your symptoms do not begin to diminish within two days or if they get worse, contact a doctor immediately in case the bacteria has spread. If symptoms do not completely disappear by the end of the antibiotic treatment, see a doctor. Approximately one out of five women have a condition known as chronic UTI and resistance to regular antibiotics indicates chronic UTI. If you have this condition, you will require a stronger course of antibiotics. Always finish the full amount of antibiotics prescribed, even after the UTI no longer gives any noticeable symptoms. Failure to finish the prescribed amount often leads to a recurrence of the UTI.

Treatment without prescription

Although it is highly recommended that you see your GP and take the prescribed medication, there are other methods in mild or early cases. You can overcome a mild case of urinary tract infection quicker by increasing your intake of vitamin C and by drinking plenty of water.

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