Medically reviewed on May 17, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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For all people, a UTI can cause various, uncomfortable symptoms, from frequent urination to abdominal pain.  That said, UTIs can range from minor to severe, depending on medical history, the site of the infection, and the bacteria involved.
While symptoms caused by minor urinary tract infections may go away naturally, it’s not advised to let any form of a UTI go untreated. Doing so could lead to other potentially life-threatening health complications, such as kidney infection and/or septic shock.  As such, all there is to know about UTIs, including treatment and prevention options are explored.
Before diving into UTI treatment options, it’s important to understand UTIs. In women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB), UTIs most commonly occur due to fecal bacteria entering the urethra. Less frequently, fungi may infect the urinary tract. 
Unfortunately, those with female anatomies are also at a higher risk of developing a UTI since their urethras are shorter, allowing bacteria to quickly travel through the tract and to the bladder and kidneys.  Additional risk factors of UTIs in women and people AFAB include: 
See related: UTI During Pregnancy
Can men get a UTI? Yes, men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) generally develop urinary tract infections as a result of an enlarged prostate, which is common in men over the age of 50.  When the prostate grows, it hinders urine from traveling efficiently from the bladder to the urethra. As a result, urine can sit in the bladder for long periods of time and grow intestinal bacteria, which may infect the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys. 
In a similar vein, holding in urine for too long can cause UTIs in all genders and may lead to a urinary tract infection. Diabetes and a weakened immune system may also predispose an individual to UTIs.  Additional all-gender risk factors include: 
While the cause of UTIs in people AMAB and AFAB differ, the presenting symptoms are usually similar. Most commonly, a UTI will affect the bladder and result in a mild UTI. Symptoms of a bladder infection may include: 
If the bacterial infection continues to travel along the urinary tract, it may reach the kidneys. These are more severe cases.  A kidney infection can quickly become a more serious health problem and often requires immediate medical intervention.  Kidney infection symptoms may include: 
In general, a urinary infection will not go away on its own without some form of UTI treatment. However, in rare or mild cases, it may heal on its own.  More specifically, research has found that UTIs spontaneously resolve in 20% of women, typically coupled with increased water intake.  That said, the remainder of the population diagnosed with a UTI will require the intervention of topical or oral antibiotics.
Following a physical exam and urine test, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe you one of the following medications: 
One study also found that a combination of vitamin C supplements and cranberry pills may be a safe and effective treatment option for women and people AFAB with a history of recurrent UTIs. 
See related: Why Do I Keep Getting a UTI?
That said, if you do have a history of these infections, how can you prevent a UTI? There are several steps you can incorporate into your daily life to reduce the risk of developing a UTI: 
Can a UTI go away on its own? Generally, it’s not recommended to wait for a UTI to go away on its own. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread throughout the urinary tract, infecting the bladder and kidneys.
If you’re experiencing UTI symptoms, consider seeking online UTI treatment with Everlywell. During the virtual appointment, a healthcare provider will discuss your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate medication.
Seek treatment today.