People may be able to tell if a urinary tract infection (UTI) is going away by observing the improvement of symptoms. Signs that a UTI might be going away include less frequent or less painful urination.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary system, including the bladder and kidneys.

This article examines how a person can tell if their UTI is going away, home testing, and more.

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One simple way to know if a UTI is going away is when the symptoms ease.

Some of the basic symptoms of a UTI and how a person might notice they are improving include:

  • Frequent urination: People may notice that they need to go to the bathroom less.
  • Painful urination: A person may notice reduced burning or stinging sensations as the UTI improves.
  • Strong-smelling urine: People may notice their urine becoming clearer, with a normal odor.
  • Lower abdominal pain: The tummy pain associated with a UTI will reduce as the infection clears up.
  • Fever or chills: A person’s temperature may come down as the UTI clears.

These symptoms may vary from person to person. However, just because a person’s symptoms are improving, it does not necessarily mean that the infection has fully cleared.

It is essential that anyone with a UTI follows all the instructions a healthcare professional gives them and finishes a full course of any prescribed medication.

Learn more about the best medications for a UTI here.

Home test strips can help people determine if a UTI is going away by detecting the presence or absence of certain substances in the urine.

People can purchase these test strips over the counter (OTC). They typically test for the presence of nitrite or leukocyte esterase, which are both indicators of a UTI.

A person must urinate on the test strip, following the instructions and color guide on the product label.

Some tests look for the presence of blood in the urine and check pH levels. The typical pH range of urine is between 4.5 and 8.0, which is slightly acidic. A pH of 8.5 or 9 may indicate a UTI.

There are also home test strips that people can mail to a lab for healthcare professionals to determine the presence of bacteria in the urine.

People should not use these tests in place of seeing a doctor, but they can be helpful for people to check if their UTI is going away.

Learn more

Learn more about UTI tests.

Antibiotics kill the infection-causing bacteria and are the most common treatment for UTIs.

Usually, the UTI is gone by the time a person is at or near the end of the course of antibiotics.

However, it is important to finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if the symptoms ease and the person starts to feel better.

Stopping the antibiotics early may lead to the bacteria becoming resistant to the medication, making it more challenging to treat the infection in the future.

Additionally, if a person stops taking the antibiotics before the infection has fully cleared, the remaining bacteria may multiply, leading to a recurrence of the infection.

Learn more about antibiotic resistance here.

If someone suspects that they have a UTI, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor or another healthcare professional.

If symptoms persist or worsen after finishing the antibiotics, go back to the doctor who can help to determine the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

Contact a doctor immediately when experiencing severe abdominal or back pain, nausea and vomiting, or a fever. These symptoms may indicate a kidney infection, which can cause serious health problems.

Additionally, consult a doctor if UTIs are recurrent.

Below are answers to common questions about UTIs.

Can a urinary tract infection go away on its own?

Some mild UTIs can go away on their own, but this is not common. It is always best to contact a doctor when experiencing UTI symptoms.

Bacteria cause UTIs, and a person typically needs antibiotics to clear the infection.

Learn more about what UTIs look like here.

What can I do to help a UTI while on antibiotics?

While on antibiotics for a UTI, there are several things people can do to help relieve symptoms and speed up recovery.

These include:

  • using a hot water bottle or heating pad to relieve pain
  • using OTC pain relief
  • drinking plenty of water
  • emptying the bladder frequently
  • avoiding sex
  • avoiding any drinks that may irritate the bladder, such as coffee or alcohol

Learn how to treat a UTI without antibiotics here.

When a UTI is going away, people may notice improved symptoms such as less frequent or less painful urination, a decrease in the intensity of any other symptoms, and a resolution of any unusual urine odor or appearance.

People can also use home testing strips to determine if their UTI has gone away.

It is important to finish a full course of antibiotics as a healthcare professional prescribes, even if symptoms improve before they complete the medication.