Urinary tract infection (UTI) is very common in women. According to experts, more than 50% of women experience at least one UTI during their lifetime. UTI is a common reason for which women visit their doctor and have to be treated with antibiotics.
Expected duration of UTI in women
Lower UTI: The kidney and ureter form the upper urinary tract and the bladder and urethra form the lower urinary tract. If the bladder or urethra is infected, it is considered as lower UTI. Most women with lower UTI respond to appropriate treatment in a few days (2 to 3 days), however, treatment is continued for a week or more. Taking antibiotics for the prescribed duration and dose is important to ensure that the infection is completely eradicated.
Upper UTI: When the infection has involved the kidney and ureter, it is considered as upper UTI. Most cases with upper UTI can be treated at home with oral antibiotics. They also respond to treatment in a few days, however, treatment for longer duration is needed in women with upper UTI. Women with mild to moderate upper UTI are given oral antibiotics for seven to 14 days. If the infection is severe or you develop complications, longer duration of treatment will be needed. The duration of treatment is influenced by factors, such as severity of infection, complications, your health condition and the causative bacterium.
Recurrent UTI: UTI recur in about 30 - 40% of women within 6 months of the first infection. Recurrence may occur because the treatment given for the first UTI cleared the bacteria initially but did not produce a lasting cure or in some cases, the woman gets infected again by a different bacterium. Treatment for recurrent UTI depends on the causative bacterium, severity of infection and complications (if present). Women with recurrent UTI may be given low-dose antibiotic to be taken every day for prevention. If you have recurrent UTI related to sex, you will be given antibiotic tablets to be taken after each time you have sex.