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How Long Does it Take For a UTI To Go Away?
March 6, 2021

How Long Does it Take For a UTI To Go Away?


UTIs are miserable. Running to the bathroom every 15 minutes to pass napalm death from your urethra. No thank you.

How long does it take for a UTI to go away? Well that depends. Everything from the type of UTI, to who you went to for a diagnosis can impact whether you’re better in a day or still suffering several weeks later (uhhh . . . not happenin’ doc).

Don’t worry. VirtuCare is by your side. I’m a board-certified urologist with expertise in correctly diagnosing and treating UTIs. Allow me to guide you through what you can expect with this nasty UTI and help you get the care you deserve.

What are the different types of UTIs? - A review

How long your UTI takes to go away will be determined by the type of UTI you have. The different types of UTIs include:

  • Urethral infections (urethritis)
  • Bladder infections (cystitis)
  • Prostate infections (prostatitis)
  • Kidneys infections (pyelonephritis)

For more detailed information about these infections please check out our urology glossary or previous post on telemedicine for UTIs.

How long does it take for urethral UTIs to go away?

A urethral infection is most commonly seen with gonorrhea or chlamydia.These sexually transmitted infections are technically UTIs of the urethra as well. They most commonly present with:

  • Discharge from the urethra (clear or yellow)
  • Burning with urination
  • Irritation with the urethra at rest
  • Increased urination

When treated with appropriate antibiotics, urethral UTIs will go away within a few days. Chlamydia typically has more subtle symptoms and recurrent infections are more common. The CDC recommends repeat testing in 3 months, even if you and your partner have no symptoms. Repeat evaluation for gonorrhea urethral infections is necessary only if your symptoms are not better within 7 days.

How long does it take for bladder UTIs to go away?

A bladder infection is what most people think of when they scream “I have a UTI. Help!”. Bladder infections present with similar, but typically more severe symptoms to a urethral infection:

  • Burning with urination
  • Frequent, urgent urination
  • Pelvic or low back pain

When treated promptly with correct antibiotics, a bladder infection will start to improve within 12-24 hours and completely go away within 3-5 days. If your bladder infection is not better after several days either:

  • You’re on the incorrect antibiotic
  • You don’t have a bacterial infection of the bladder 

Regardless, you should seek medical attention with a urologist who can help you troubleshoot the issue.

How long does it take for prostate UTIs to go away?

When UTIs spread to a solid organ like the prostate, the body has a much stronger immune response. As a result, prostate UTIs tend to be more severe (nevermind that us men have been known to request ICU admissions for a sore throat). Symptoms of prostate infection include:

  • Fevers, chills, flu-like symptoms
  • Burning with urination
  • Frequent, urgent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder

A prostate infection takes 3-5 days to see symptom improvement and up to 6 weeks to completely go away. Symptom improvement depends on: antibiotic choice and whether a man is completely emptying his bladder. 

Prostate infections can lead to urinary retention. If a man’s bladder is full of bacteria, antibiotics alone won’t solve the problem. You may need a catheter to drain the urine from your bladder.

Yes a catheter. Don’t look at me that way.

Additionally, some antibiotics (e.g. nitrofurantoin) will not reach adequate levels within the prostate. As a result, the prostate infection may improve slightly but ultimately recur. Antibiotic choice is crucial if you are expecting your prostate infection to go away.

Prostate infections are one of the few scenarios where providers tend to UNDER treat with antibiotics. A prostate infection requires 6 weeks of antibiotics to ensure all bacteria in the prostate are killed. Shorter courses have a higher rate of recurrent infections.

How long do kidney UTIs take to go away?

A kidney infection is more similar to a prostate infection than a bladder infection. When the kidney is infected YOU ARE SICK! Symptoms include:

  • Fevers, chills
  • One-sided (unilateral) flank or upper back pain
  • Nausea, vomiting

These infections will not resolve on their own. They require a minimum of 7 days of antibiotics and up to 21 days if you’re really sick. It can take up to 72 hours on correct antibiotics for you to start feeling better from a kidney infection. After 72 hours x-ray tests and a repeat urine test should be performed to rule out abnormalities of the urinary tract (e.g. kidney stone). 

Due to the severe inflammation associated with a kidney infection, it may take several weeks for symptoms of kidney UTI to completely resolve.

Common UTI questions

Hopefully now you have a better idea of how long it takes for a UTI to go away. Let’s address some follow-up questions that you may have as well:

Can a UTI go away on its own? How long does it take for a UTI to go away WITHOUT antibiotics?

Yes! A UTI can go away on its own. In a review of multiple studies, 25-42% of women with an uncomplicated bladder infection will get better without antibiotics.

If you’re dealing with a prostate or kidney infection, don’t expect these infections to get better on their own. If your symptoms of a prostate/kidney infection improve without antibiotics, then it means you probably didn’t have a bacterial infection in the first place.

How long does it take for a UTI to go away without antibiotics? Relief from a UTI can be seen as early as 1 day and up to 7 days without an antibiotic.

How quickly depends on your body and what additional tactics you are employing Non-antibiotic therapies include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Over-the-counter supplements
  • Hydration

Speaking of hydration . . . 

Can you flush out a UTI with water?

Staying well hydrated is important for UTI prevention. But what if you have an active UTI? At the moment there is no evidence that you can flush out a UTI with water.

Drinking a lot of water during a UTI makes sense but it also means that you’ll have to pee more often. Since peeing feels like passing razor blades out your urethra . . .  maybe take it a bit easy on the water intake. 

Rather than guzzle down a gallon of water, seek appropriate medical care (e.g. telemedicine visit with a board-certified urologist). On appropriate antibiotics, you’ll see symptoms relief within a day. Otherwise, delaying care can prolong the agony.

How do you know if your UTI is getting better?

Everyone recovers from a UTI differently. The first sign your UTI is getting better is symptom relief. The blowtorch in your urethra should start cooling off. Your bladder will let you sit on the couch instead of the toilet.

Fevers, chills, nausea and systemic symptoms may take a couple of days to get better. Use supportive therapies like over-the-counter medications to minimize the severity.

What if your UTI is NOT getting better? Again, seek immediate medical assistance with a urologist to rule out a drug-resistant bacteria or another cause for your symptoms.

Go away UTI! - Closing thoughts

Our goal at VirtuCare is to educate you with accurate medical knowledge. There are few medical conditions with a laundry list of “old wives tales” longer than UTIs. You shouldn’t feel alone when your doctor won’t return your phone call and you’re left asking Dr. Google for help.

With a board-certified urologist just a few clicks away, you have access to a UTI expert who cares. Say goodbye to bladder scorching UTIs from the comfort of your home. Once you’re feeling better let’s schedule a follow-up consultation to discuss UTI prevention.

Because the best offense against UTIs is often the best defense.