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How Long Does a UTI Last? Effective Treatment and Duration

Woman in pain with urinary tract infection

Dealing with a urinary tract infection (UTI) can be uncomfortable and worrying, leaving you wondering: ‘How long does this last?’ Typically, UTIs clear up within two to three days of starting treatment, though symptoms can linger for up to a week in more severe cases.

In this guide, we walk you through what to expect during a UTI, from the onset of symptoms to the relief of effective UTI treatment. Whether it’s your first UTI or you’ve dealt with them before, we provide the answers and assurance you need for a speedy recovery.

UTI Duration: How Long Does a UTI Typically Last?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection that can affect any part of the urinary system, including the bladder, urethra, and kidneys. The duration of a UTI varies based on several factors, including the type of UTI and whether it’s uncomplicated or complicated.

Uncomplicated UTI

This is the most common type of UTI and usually occurs in healthy, non-pregnant women. An uncomplicated UTI often involves the lower urinary tract, specifically the bladder and the urethra. Symptoms can include a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination, urgency to urinate, and cloudy or strong-smelling urine.


Uncomplicated UTIs typically last for about 5 to 7 days. Most people start feeling better within a few days of starting antibiotic treatment. However, it’s important to complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider to ensure that the infection is fully eradicated and to prevent recurrence.

Complicated UTI

This type of UTI occurs in individuals who have certain health issues that make the infection more difficult to treat. These issues can include abnormalities in the urinary tract, a weakened immune system, pregnancy, or the presence of a urinary catheter. Complicated UTIs can affect the lower or upper urinary tract, including the kidneys (pyelonephritis).


The duration of a complicated UTI can be longer than an uncomplicated UTI and may vary depending on the underlying health issues and the severity of the infection. Treatment usually lasts for at least 7-14 days, and in some cases, intravenous antibiotics may be required. It’s essential for individuals with a complicated UTI to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions closely and may require a longer follow-up to ensure the infection is completely resolved.

In both cases, it’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect a UTI. Delaying treatment can lead to more serious complications, especially with complicated UTIs.

UTI Treatment: Finding the Right Solution for Quick Relief

If you suspect a urinary tract infection (UTI), especially a bladder or kidney infection, seek medical attention promptly as these conditions can be severe. Early treatment can prevent the infection from spreading to the bladder or kidneys. A doctor will typically test your urine to identify the specific micro-organisms causing the infection. UTIs generally respond quickly and effectively to antibiotics (1).

Alongside antibiotics, drinking plenty of water can help flush out the bacteria from the urinary system. Over-the-counter pain relief can also be used to alleviate symptoms. 

Whether dealing with lower or upper-tract UTIs, it’s important to complete the entire course of antibiotics, even if UTI symptoms improve. This ensures the infection is fully eradicated and prevents recurrent bladder infections. In some cases, lifestyle changes and home remedies may also be recommended as part of a comprehensive approach to treatment and prevention.

Keep in mind that individual results vary and always follow medical advice from your doctor for your situation.

woman with uti symptoms thinking how long does a uti last

Preventing UTIs: Proactive Steps to Avoid Recurrent Infections

Proactive steps and lifestyle changes can help avoid recurrent urinary tract infections. Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water helps flush bacteria from the urinary system. It’s important to practice good bathroom habits, such as urinating regularly, especially after sexual activity, and wiping from front to back to prevent bacterial spread.

Maintaining good personal hygiene and choosing breathable cotton underwear can also reduce the risk of UTIs. For women, avoiding irritating feminine products like douches and sprays can be beneficial. Additionally, a balanced diet rich in fibre can aid in regular bowel movements, reducing the risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract.

For those keen to understand what to do if you keep getting UTIs, a healthcare provider might suggest preventive measures, which can include a low dose of long-term antibiotics or self-testing and treatment strategies. It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalised advice and to address any underlying issues contributing to recurrent infections.

woman sitting on toilet with burning sensation when peeing - a symptom of uti.

Seeking Medical Help: When to Consult a Healthcare Professional

It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a urinary tract infection as soon as you notice symptoms, such as a burning sensation during urination, frequent urge to urinate, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, urinary incontinence, or pelvic pain. Prompt medical attention is vital, as an untreated UTI can lead to more serious infection or complications, including kidney infections.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms like high fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or back pain, it’s essential to seek immediate medical care, as these could indicate a kidney infection. Also, if symptoms persist after completing a course of antibiotics, a follow-up with your healthcare provider is necessary.

For individuals with recurrent UTIs, a healthcare professional can thoroughly evaluate underlying causes, request a urine test, and recommend a tailored prevention or treatment plan. Pregnant women, children, and individuals with underlying health conditions should also seek medical advice early due to potential complications associated with UTIs in these groups. Remember, timely and appropriate medical intervention is key to effectively treating UTIs and preventing future occurrences. 

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  1. Victoria State Government. Urinary tract infections (UTI) [Internet]. Victoria: Better Health Channel; 2022 [cited 2024 Jul 5]. Available from:

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. The health and medical information on this site is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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