Woman with laptop looking up if a UTI can go away on its own

Can a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Go Away On Its Own?

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.

Table of contents

For all people, a UTI can cause various, uncomfortable symptoms, from frequent urination to abdominal pain. [1] 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. [2] As such, all there is to know about UTIs, including treatment and prevention options are explored.

UTI 101

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. [3]

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. [3] Additional risk factors of UTIs in women and people AFAB include: [4]

  • Certain birth control medications
  • Genetic factors
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual activity
  • Weakened immune system

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. [5] 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. [5]

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. [6] Additional all-gender risk factors include: [6]

  • History of gross hematuria (bloody urine)
  • History of nocturia (waking up in the middle of the night to urinate)
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Kidney stones
  • Narrow urethra

UTI Symptoms

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: [1]

  • A constant need to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cramping in the groin or lower abdomen
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning while urinating

If the bacterial infection continues to travel along the urinary tract, it may reach the kidneys. These are more severe cases. [1] A kidney infection can quickly become a more serious health problem and often requires immediate medical intervention. [7] Kidney infection symptoms may include: [8]

  • Bad-smelling urine
  • Bloody urine
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in the stomach, side, or back
  • Painful urination
  • Urge to urinate frequently

How to Treat a UTI

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. [9] More specifically, research has found that UTIs spontaneously resolve in 20% of women, typically coupled with increased water intake. [9] 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: [10]

  • Cephalexin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Fosfomycin
  • Fluoroquinolone
  • Minocycline
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole

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. [11]

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: [12]

  • Drink lots of water – Keeping yourself hydrated can help dilute the urine and increase the frequency of urination, which can help flush out harmful bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Urinate before and after sexual activity – During intercourse or sexual activity, bacteria can spread from the anus or vagina and into the urethra. Urinating can help remove harmful bacteria from the urethra before it travels further into the urinary tract.
  • Avoid certain products – Scented products like deodorant sprays, as well as douches and powders may transfer bacteria into the urinary tract, leading to infection.
  • Consider a new birth control – Spermicides, contraceptive gels, and unlubricated condoms may irritate the skin, causing infection near the urethra. Diaphragms, on the other hand, can slow urinary flow and may contribute to the buildup of harmful bacteria in the bladder.

Don’t Ignore Your UTI: Consult with Everlywell

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.

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  1. Urinary tract infection. CDC. URL. Published October 6, 2021. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  2. Symptoms & causes of kidney infection (pyelonephritis). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL. Published April 2017. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  3. What causes UTIs & UI? NIH. URL. Published May 5, 2022. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  4. Minardi, D. Urinary tract infections in women: etiology and treatment options. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S11767. URL. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  5. Shmerling R. Urinary tract infection in men. Harvard Health Publishing. URL. Published December 5, 2022. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  6. Brusch J. Urinary tract infection (UTI) in males. Medscape. URL. Published March 27, 2023. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  7. Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  8. Kidney Infection. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  9. Bono M, Leslie S, Reygaert W. Urinary tract infection. StatPearls. URL. Published November 28, 2022. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  10. Urinary tract infection (UTI). Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  11. Montorsi F. Effectiveness of a Combination of Cranberries, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Vitamin C for the Management of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Women: Results of a Pilot Study. European Urology. URL. Published June 7, 2016. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  12. Urinary tract infection (UTI). Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed May 11, 2023.
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