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

Medically reviewed on October 20, 2023 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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UTIs, or urinary tract infections, are a highly common type of infection affecting between 40 and 60% of people assigned female at birth (AFAB) at some point in their lifetimes.1 While it’s possible to use at-home and over-the-counter remedies to manage painful symptoms, UTI treatment requires antibiotics—and a prescription from a healthcare provider to get those antibiotics. [2]

If you have a urinary tract infection but don’t want to visit a healthcare provider in person, you can get an antibiotic prescription remotely through a telehealthcare provider. Options for urinary tract infection treatment will vary depending on the severity of your infection and whether or not it has spread past the urethra (i.e. a bladder infection or kidney infection is present), as well as if you have a history of recurrent UTIs.

Below, we’ll touch on why it’s vital to treat UTIs properly, as well as how to address yours more conveniently and effectively.

UTI Basics

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) refer to any infection impacting one or multiple parts of the urinary system. The urinary system includes [2]:

  • Urethra
  • Bladder
  • Ureters
  • The kidneys

The most common form of UTI is a bladder infection (cystitis), also known as “lower" or “uncomplicated” UTIs.3 They primarily affect women, though it’s possible for men to get them, too. [3]

Nearly half of all people with a UTI will experience chronic or recurring UTIs—infections that return within a one-year period.3 For this reason, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure the UTI is treated properly and discourage the infection from returning.

Are UTIs Serious?

UTIs can be uncomfortable and painful, though many infections resolve on their own.3 However, if the UTI is untreated or treated improperly, the infection may become more serious.

UTIs that spread to the kidneys (pyelonephritis or “upper” UTI) can be dangerous and require immediate medical attention. [4] That’s why it’s important to address UTIs head-on to prevent the possibility of it spreading. [4]

Signs and Symptoms of UTIs

If you think you may have a UTI, you may experience any of the following symptoms [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

Additionally, the following symptoms could be a sign that your UTI has spread, resulting in a kidney infection [2]:

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

Bear in mind that symptoms and combinations thereof can vary from person to person. However, if you experience any of the signs mentioned above, it’s best to reach out to a healthcare provider either in-person or remotely through telehealthcare.

How to Get Rid of UTI Fast

Given how uncomfortable UTIs can be, many people wonder how to get rid of a UTI in 24 hours. [2] Several home remedies may help improve lower (simple) UTI symptoms within a day [2]:

  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Limiting caffeinated beverages
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Limiting citrus juices
  • Applying a heated compress to your lower abdomen

While these home remedies may help with symptoms, they cannot guarantee a recovery from your UTI. It’s important to consult with a professional if your UTI does not clear up within several days, especially if you have chronic UTIs.

If you’re looking for a more convenient, time-effective way to obtain antibiotics for your UTI, a remote telehealth professional can help assess your symptoms and get you a prescription.

Antibiotics for UTIs can include [2]:

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

How Fast do Antibiotics Work for UTIs?

Thankfully, after you start antibiotic treatment, UTI symptoms clear up within a couple of days. [2] However, you must continue to take the antibiotics as prescribed by your telehealth care provider, even if you are feeling better. Typically, a course of antibiotics prescribed for a simple UTI lasts between 1 and 3 days. [2]

What If I Have Chronic UTIs?

Depending on your UTI symptoms, medical history, and any comorbidities (like diabetes), you may need a longer course of treatment to help prevent UTIs from returning. Chronic or recurring UTIs typically require treatment in cooperation with your healthcare provider.

They may recommend [2]:

  • 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.

If your healthcare provider diagnoses you with a severe UTI, you may need to receive antibiotics through an IV in the hospital. [2] Whatever type of UTI you have, it’s important to work with a trusted professional—whether in-person or remotely—to support your recovery, reduce your risk of complications, and prevent UTIs from coming back in the future.

Get Antibiotics Conveniently with Everlywell

The antibiotics that treat UTIs are not available over the counter, and thus, they have to be prescribed by a healthcare professional. But if you’re wondering how to get antibiotics for UTI without seeing a doctor, the good news is 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 online 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.

  1. Definition & Facts of bladder infection in adults - NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  2. Urinary tract infection (UTI). Mayo Clinic. Published September 14, 2022. URL. Accessed October 10, 2022.
  3. Bono M, Leslie S., Reygaert, W. Urinary tract infection - statpearls - NCBI bookshelf. URL. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  4. Kidney infection. Mayo Clinic. August 6, 2022. URL. Accessed October 10, 2023.
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