Uti's - Uniontown,PA

Updated on April 19, 2010
L.P. asks from Uniontown, PA
17 answers

Can a UTI go away on it's own, without antibiotics? Any idea of the possible downside for not treating a UTI? I have left them untreated, and they seem to go away on their own, but I am wondering whether this is really detrimental in some way.

A little background... I am prone to them. Got them as a child, and had no other symptoms, other than fever. Was even hospitalized once because they couldn't figure out why I had a persistent fever with no other symptoms. Fast forward to the present, I still get no symptoms, no burning, no urgency, nothing, EXCEPT a pungent odor to my urine. That is how I know I have one. Some people have a more natural tendency to be prone to them based on something like the length of your ureter, or something like that. The shorter it is, the less bacteria has to travel, blah, blah, blah. The point is, I get them way more than I want to go to the doctor for them. By often, I'd say maybe once every couple months, give or take? Bear in mind that there are people so prone to them that they can get a UTI every time they have intercourse, due to the introduction of bacterias to that area. Some doctors even prescribe an antibiotic to be kept on hand and one pill taken after intercourse just to stave off a UTI. So I'm not so much concerned about how often I get them, I am just not wanting to run to the doctor and pay a ridiculous copay every time I get a UTI when they don't really cause me any problems.

I know about the Ezo tablets, drinking lots of fluids and cranberry juice, cranberry tablets, etc., but all that deals with either preventing UTI's, or easing the symptoms associated with UTI's. As I said, I have no symptoms.

SO, my question is - Is it OK to leave a UTI untreated and allow it to subside on it's own, so long as the symptoms (or lack thereof) are tolerable?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

OK - So I DID GO SEE A DOCTOR, although my "symptom" has subsided. But due to my recently developed fear of developing kidney disease or something even more heinous, I decided to just get checked out to make sure everything is ok, which it seems to be.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I asked about whether it is imperative to be treated by a doctor and or medication each and every time I have a UTI, to which he responded with an emphatic "NO." He said that it is NOT NECESSARY to treat a UTI with antibiotics each and every time one occurs, if the symptoms are bearable. As we all know, too much antibiotic is a bad thing. He said I am not damaging my kidneys by letting a UTI resolve on it's own. Naturally, he recommended drinking a glass of cranberry juice each day, both for preventative measures, as well as assisting a UTI to clear when I have one, as well as drinkiing a lot of water.

So there you have it. I am sure some of you will now question my doctor's response, but I am just telling what he told me. (Incidentally, this is the second doctor that has told me this. I neglected to include that in my original post because I wanted your unbiased responses.)

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answers from Birmingham on

I'm very prone to them. Until I got pregnant (and worry easier now, lol) I rarely bothered with going to the doctor. I drink lots of water, and get over them quickly.

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answers from Kansas City on

L., not going to read the other responses because it sounds like you really opened a can of worms! BUT i will say, i bought a book on amazon last week (still waiting for it!) that you might want to check out, "the dr.'s book of natural remedies". i would research your situation online. i bet there are options. would the cranberry pills (maybe taken daily?) not be a good idea, since from what i have read (and have taken them a time or two, for kidney issues) they actually promote all-around urinary health? i would google it! (but that's my solution for most things lol) good luck, i do think consulting with a dr. is a good idea - however - dr's really tick me off b/c their solution to everything (even if it's just a dang hang nail) seems to always be, "oh you better come in. i'll give you a prescription." grrr! OH also, i have found that my body needs a LOT of water each day - like i was drinking 3-4 regular sized bottles of water per day when i was in my first trimester, and i had bleeding, and all they could tell me was that i needed to drink MORE water. SO i ended up drinking about 5-7 bottles of water per day through my pregnancy. today i drink about 2 liters of water per day (if i'm good). not counting meals. it is amazing what a difference it makes. i assume you're staying away from caffeine and staying hydrated - but you might be surprised what increasing your daily water intake might do. just a suggestion!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Make sure to urinate right before and after intercourse. I would also wash up afterwards. Make sure your partners mouth is clean before anything happens. I know it is not sponataneous but make sure he rinses with listerine or brushes his teeth to reduce the spread of bacteria from his mouth to your other parts. Hope this is not TMI. Keep doing the cranberry juice and what ever else you can. If it does bother you go to the doctor.
Go online and see if there are any remedies that are natural.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

The main danger with UTI is the increased chance of kidney infection. A simple bladder infection with no fever can be treated at home. I wouldn't worry unless I had a high fever. Then it needs to be treated promptly as fever and bacteria in kidney can cause kidney damage.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I think that you should make an appointment with a urologist if you haven't seen one already. He/she will be able to answer your ? much better than this board and your regular doctor.


answers from New York on

Funny that you ask, I just went to the doctor today for a UTI. I started cipro. To answer your question, No it is not o.k to just let a UTI go untreated, the bacteria can move to your kidneys and cause serious kidney infections. Or it can spread to your blood stream then you will become septic and end up in the hospital with serious blood infection. The bacteria will not just go away, even though your symptoms may come and go, I bet the untreated bacteria is always there multiplying. You did say that some doctors would prescribe the abx for you to have on hand so that you did not have to go every time you got a UTI, why don't you discuss that option with your MD. I just want to add that you want to be 100% sure it is a UTI before using antibiotics, after all you do not want to help create antibiotic resistance.


answers from Allentown on

Hi, L.:

You know what to do for the UTI's.

What I would suggest is after you finish urinating, continue to sit for 3 minutes by the clock to allow the bladder to release the last bit of urine.
(I use to work for a Urologist. This is what he would tell his female patients)..
Hope this helps. D.



answers from Scranton on

See a urologist asap. You can cause perminant damage to your urethreatha(s), kidney(s), and/or baldder with recurrent infections. Drink at least 2 quarts of water/day, if you are drinking cranberry juice, it must be unsweetened to work - cranberry "drink" is mostly water and sugar and will only feed the bacteria. If you are doing all the perventative things you mentioned and still getting several UTI's/year, you need treatment. It is NEVER normal - or harmless - to have recurrent infections.



answers from Cleveland on

a UTI could end up as a kidney infection and end up having to be hospitalized for a while. it is best to get antibiotics for a UTI so it does not end up as a kidney infection



answers from Redding on

No offense, but are you sure you have UTI's?
I've had them, and kidney infections, and they are excruciatingly painful.
You say you have no symptoms other than a pungent odor in your urine.
(My son's pee stinks really bad in the morning but it's because he holds it and doesn't get up in the night to pee. I know this because if he doesn't flush I can smell it but he's never had an infection in his life).
You definitely need to be drinking lots of water and cranberry juice.
Allow yourself to sit still as long as you can and relax to make sure your bladder is really emptying.
You mentioned intercourse. My sister had debilitating UTI's and her urologist told her to get up and pee after intercourse. Every single time. Whether she felt like it or not. Sit there, relax, and empty her bladder.
Just doing that made a world of difference and she hasn't had an infection in 2 years.

It's never okay to leave a UTI untreated. In my experience, a true UTI will not simply go away on it's own. I've had them so bad and come on so quickly that I was peeing blood because the infection had gone to my kidneys.
I've never heard of a symptomless Urinary Tract Infection.
I'm not saying it can't happen. But a true infection should not just be left to go away on it's own. If your only symptom is the smell of your urine, drink more and pee more. Keep track of the different things you eat and see if that affects the smell of your urine as opposed to it being an infection.



answers from Philadelphia on

L., I agree with most of the ladies here about NOT letting them go! I'm fortunate enough to have only had a handful of UTI's in my lifetime, but my SIL was/is not so fortunate. I'm not trying to scare you, but she went in for an MRI for her back (totally unrelated) and they told her she had spots on her kidneys. Turns out that she had Renal Carcinoma and had to have one of her kidneys removed. Thank goodness she is now cancer-free, but they are looking back at her history of UTI's and bladder reflux as a child. Now her two daughters show signs of bladder reflux! Please be very careful! Best of luck.



answers from Allentown on

UTIs should never be taken lightly. When you suspect one, you SHOULD see a doctor and have it diagnosed and treated. If you have recurrent UTIs, you should see a urologist for treatment (ask for a referral from your family doctor, if you need one). A urologist can order more detailed urinalysis for you and can perform a simple cystoscopy to have a quick look around to see how things look on the inside. As others have already stated, untreated UTIs can lead to serious complications. No, you don't have to have all the textbook symptoms for it to be a UTI -- but if you suspect one, you should take it seriously.



answers from Indianapolis on

I'd agree with Rebecca's advice: I'd consult a physician to verify that the culture shows a UTI vs. a kidney infection.

In the past few years, the diagnostic tests to verify bacterial/viral activity have gotten so much more accurate and advanced from when we were growing-up.

Perhaps even get under the care of a Urologist as Donna mentioned since you're prone to them just so you have a baseline level of your health vs. when something does arise.



answers from Philadelphia on

No, it is not OK to leave a UTI untreated. If untreated, the infection can spread to your kidneys and cause permanent damage. I am an RN and also suffer from frequent UTI's. I get them so frequently, that my doctor will often just call in a perscription for me even without seeing me. He has also given me antibiotics with refills to take when the symptoms start. They now sell over-the-counter tests to test at home for UTI's. I would see you doctor and have him/her do a urinalysis just to be sure. Then discuss with your doctor the frequency of your UTI's and what your treatment options are. He/she might be open to working with you so you don't have to come in every time.



answers from Minneapolis on

I have them chronically (tho I am on a two year-no-UTI-hot-streak). Have never considered not treating them but mine come on fast with blood and excruciating pain so waiting it out is not an option.

If you can bear the symptoms you have and otherwise have a healthy immune system (and your dr says OK), give it a shot. Tho know that every UTI "scars" the bladder a bit. And that's the only bladder you have so you gotta be kind to it. = )



answers from Portland on

You really should go and get them treated or at least drink cranberry juice. I too had the same issue going on. No symptoms no urgency then it hit me. I got a severe kidney infections. My fever spiked at 106, was hosptialized for 7 days and it took 6 different IVs before they found one that killed the infection. The trouble with no symptom UTI's is that some bacteria will back up into your kidneys and grow then it hits you. This kidney infection was worse than my Csection. I lost 15 pounds and was ver sick. So I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to UTIs.



answers from Allentown on

I have problems with UTI's on and off. When I get them, they get severe very quickly. I am talking feeling a slight tingle/burn in the am and severe pain and blood in urine by the afternoon/early evening.

I have a couple suggestions, which may be repeats because I did not read the other posts. First, I do suggest seeing a urologist. Just for an initial consult and official diagnoses. There could be something they would recommend. The medical field has come a long way since you were a child, I'm sure. Second, my doctor calls in antibiotics fequently for me. Your doctor may be willing to do this or maybe a urologist.

I would also suggest drinking cranberry juice regularly. It makes it very difficult for the bacteria to grow and survive in. It can prevent and help treat a mild UTI. I know that you said you knew about it but it didn't sound like you were using it. It is VERY important and recommended by my doctor.

And last I just wanted to stress the danger of leaving a UTI untreated. I'm guessing others probably mentioned it but a UTI leads to a bladder, then kidney infection. You do not want to damage your kidneys. This can be very serious.

Good Luck with whatever you decide!

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