Medications for Urinary Tract Infections in Adults

At NYU Langone, doctors prescribe medication to manage and relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infections, or UTIs, in adults.

Antibiotics

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if your symptoms and the results of urinalysis indicate you have a UTI, rather than waiting for the results of a urine culture. The medication is taken by mouth usually for three to seven days. Symptoms tend to subside within days, but for maximum effectiveness be sure to finish the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed.

Your doctor may change the type of antibiotic he or she prescribes depending on the type of bacteria found in the urine culture, or if your symptoms don’t improve.

Your doctor weighs the decision to prescribe or change the type of antibiotic against the risk of bacterial resistance. This is because certain antibiotics have been so widely used, some bacteria have become resistant to them.

If you have a severe, life-threatening kidney infection, your doctor may treat you with intravenous antibiotics in the hospital.

Analgesics

If you experience any discomfort, your doctor may prescribe an analgesic, such as phenazopyridine, a pain-relief medication for the urinary tract. Others include those that reduce bladder spasms and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Estrogen

Some studies suggest that estrogen encourages the body to produce substances that prevent infection in the bladder. As a result, peri- and postmenopausal women, whose estrogen levels can fluctuate, may experience an increased risk of UTI.

Your NYU Langone doctor may prescribe a topical estrogen supplement. This can be provided as a cream or a suppository, which are applied two to three times per week, or as a ring that is inserted into the vagina.

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