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Man using telehealth to get antibiotics for a UTI without seeing a doctor in person

How to get antibiotics for a UTI without seeing a doctor or healthcare provider in person

Written on December 22, 2022 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. 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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If you have a UTI, you can get antibiotics from a telehealthcare provider or use over-the-counter remedies. Options for treatment will vary based on your infection, if it has spread past the urethra, and if you experience chronic UTIs.

About UTIs

The Mayo Clinic describes urinary tract infections (UTIs) as “an infection in any part of the urinary system,” which can include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra [1]. Per the CDC, the most common form of UTI is a bladder infection (cystitis) [2].

UTIs can be uncomfortable and painful, and if the infection spreads to the kidneys (called pyelonephritis) it can be dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.


According to the CDC, UTIs can be caused by any of the following [2]:

  • A previous UTI
  • Sexual activity
  • Changes in the vaginal bacteria (e.g., during menopause or after using spermicides)
  • Pregnancy
  • Age (older adults and young children are more likely to get UTIs)
  • Other problems in the urinary tract, such as enlarged prostate
  • Poor hygiene (particularly in potty-training children and elderly folks who cannot care for themselves)


Symptoms and combinations thereof can vary from person to person, but below are lists of symptoms provided by the CDC for both bladder and kidney infections.

Possible symptoms of a bladder infection [2]:

  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder
  • Bloody urine
  • Pressure or cramping in the groin or lower abdomen

Possible symptoms of a kidney infection [2]:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lower back pain or pain in the side of your back
  • Nausea or vomiting


UTIs can be diagnosed by analyzing urine samples, doing imaging of the urinary tract, or using a scope to look at the bladder [3]. A provider may also diagnose you based on your conversation and/or medical history.

Treatment options

The first line of defense to treat a UTI is a course of antibiotics. Thankfully, after you start treatment, UTI symptoms clear up within a couple of days, but you must continue to take the antibiotics as prescribed, even if you are feeling better.

Simple UTIs

The Mayo Clinic says: “For an uncomplicated UTI that occurs when you’re otherwise healthy, your healthcare provider may recommend a [short] course of treatment. That may mean taking an antibiotic for 1 to 3 days. Whether a short course of treatment is enough to treat your infection depends on your symptoms and medical history” [3]. Additionally, “Your health care provider also may give you a pain reliever to take that can ease burning while urinating. But pain usually goes away soon after starting an antibiotic” [3].

Prescription medications used to treat simple UTIs are:

  • Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Bactrim DS)
  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid, Furadantin)
  • Cephalexin
  • Ceftriaxone

Chronic UTIs

If you have frequent UTIs, your healthcare provider may recommend [3]:

  • Low-dose antibiotics. You might take them for six months or longer.
  • Diagnosing and treating yourself when symptoms occur; you’ll also be asked to stay in touch with your provider.
  • Taking a single dose of antibiotic after sex if UTIs are related to sexual activity.
  • Vaginal estrogen therapy if you’ve reached menopause.

Severe UTIs

The Mayo Clinic says in the case of a severe UTI, you may need to receive antibiotics through an IV in the hospital [3].

Getting antibiotics

The antibiotics that treat UTIs are not available over the counter, and thus, they have to be prescribed by a healthcare professional. However, you do not need to go into a doctor’s office (or even leave your house) to get a prescription.

With Everlywell’s telehealth visits, you can book a same-day video appointment for UTI treatment with a healthcare provider who can give you a diagnosis and prescribe antibiotics when necessary — your prescription is even sent right to your local pharmacy. This telehealth option is convenient and private, plus you don’t have to wait to get care or treatment. Visits can cost as low as $10 and even without insurance (though major insurance plans are accepted), an appointment costs less than $60.

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  1. Urinary tract infection (UTI). Mayo Clinic. URL. Published September 14, 2022. Accessed December 6, 2022.
  2. Urinary Tract Infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published October 6, 2021. Accessed December 6, 2022.
  3. Urinary tract infection (UTI). Mayo Clinic. URL. Published September 14, 2022. Accessed December 20, 2022.
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