How to Get Rid of a UTI

September 27, 2021

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Harry P Koo, M.D. contributes to topics such as Pediatric Urology.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections people can get. In fact, about 10 in 25 women and 3 in 25 men will have symptoms of a UTI during their lifetime, according to the Urology Care Foundation.

Unfortunately, kids aren’t immune either. Roughly 2.5 percent of children will get a UTI in their lifetime, though girls are more likely than boys to get one, and they’re most common in children under 5 years old.

Symptoms of a UTI may include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Pain and burning with urination
  • Blood in urine

If left untreated for too long, a UTI can lead to a kidney infection, nausea, vomiting and fever.

“Generally speaking, the symptoms for kids are sometimes similar to adults and sometimes different,” says Harry Koo, M.D., pediatric urologist and chief of Pediatric Urology at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. “In older, more verbal kids, they can tell you they had an accident or burning during urination. But in younger kids, sometimes the only sign is a fever.”

At-home Treatments

Common home remedies for children and adults include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Taking a probiotic
  • Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice
  • Increasing Vitamin C intake
  • Supplements such as D-Mannose, cranberry extract and garlic extract

Some uncomplicated UTIs clear on their own, but most will need to be treated with antibiotics, such as penicillin. Should you need to seek medical help for worsening symptoms, a doctor will do a urine culture to determine which bacteria is at play and which antibiotic will be the most effective against it.

“We treat UTIs with oral antibiotics for anywhere between five and 14 days, depending on how severe the infection is,” Dr. Koo says. “But if it’s really bad, some children and adults will have to be admitted to the hospital to receive intravenous antibiotics.”

If you think you or your child might have a UTI, call your doctor before trying to treat the infection yourself. Catching it and treating it early could make all the difference.

How to Avoid a UTI

While UTIs are common, they’re not inevitable and they can be prevented. Here are a few practices that can help you avoid a UTI:

  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Urinating when the need arises
  • Wiping from front to back (for girls and women)
  • Eating foods with probiotics or taking a supplement
  • Practicing good sexual hygiene

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.