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Possible Reasons Why Your UTI Symptoms Persist After Antibiotics

Possible Reasons Why Your UTI Symptoms Persist After Antibiotics

When we treat our urinary tract infection with antibiotics, doctors often remind us to complete our treatment even if we already feel better after just a few days of taking the medicines. This ensures we can totally get rid of the bacteria. But what if our UTI symptoms persist after antibiotics? What does it mean, and how do we deal with it?

Common UTI Symptoms

Before we talk about the possible reasons why UTI symptoms persist after antibiotics, let’s first review the common symptoms of urinary tract infection. They include:

  • Urgency to urinate
  • A burning sensation or pain while peeing
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Cloudy or blood-tinged urine

Possible Reasons Why UTI Symptoms Persist After Antibiotics

Below are the possible reasons why UTI symptoms persist after antibiotics:

1. The Antibiotic Is Not Appropriate For Your Infection

Reports say 90% of UTIs occur due to E.coli. For this reason, many doctors no longer order a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria that caused the infection.

Still, it’s possible that your UTI happened due to another bacteria, virus, or fungi. If this is the case, you may not respond well to the prescribed antibiotics, and your symptoms might linger.

2. It’s Due to Antibiotic Resistance

Sometimes, due to frequent or constant use of certain antibiotics, the bacteria causing the infection develop a mechanism that protects them from treatment. In other words, they build resistance to the drug.

With antibiotic resistance, the medicine will not effectively kill the bacteria, which might lead to lingering symptoms.

Antibiotic resistance commonly happens to those who experience chronic UTI since they are likely to take antibiotics often.

3. Taking Antibiotics Incorrectly

Why do UTI symptoms persist after antibiotics?

One possible reason could be you’re taking them incorrectly. Perhaps you’re using a medicine not prescribed by your doctor. Or you stopped midway through treatment and changed your drugs. Maybe you didn’t finish your treatment because you’re sharing your antibiotics with a family member who’s experiencing the same symptoms.

The bottom line is taking antibiotics incorrectly may negatively impact treatment.

4. Your Condition Isn’t UTI

If you have UTI symptoms, such as urgency to pee or burning sensation during urination, chances are UTI’s really what you’re dealing with. However, there are still instances when your symptoms are due to another underlying condition that “mimics” UTI symptoms.

Examples of these conditions are:

If you have another condition that’s causing UTI-like symptoms, antibiotics may not work well. Come to think of it, yeast infection happens due to fungi, so antibacterials won’t work on it.

Also, if you have another condition, you likely have other symptoms, too. A yeast infection, for instance, often leads to white, clumpy vaginal discharge.

What’s Next?

If your UTI symptoms persist after antibiotics, the best thing to do is to consult your doctor again. This time, they may order a urine culture to determine the bacteria or perform other tests to see if you have an underlying illness that needs treatment.

Additionally, they might also advise you to make lifestyle modifications, such as drinking more water, not holding your urine when you feel the urge, and always making sure that you practice good hygiene, like wiping from front to back or peeing before and after sex.

Key Takeaways

Do your UTI symptoms persist after antibiotics? Possible reasons include using wrong antibiotics, taking antibiotics incorrectly, having another condition that mimics UTI symptoms, and antibiotic resistance.

If you have lingering UTI symptoms even after you completed your antibiotic treatment, be sure to go back to the doctor, so they can make further evaluation and change your treatment plan when necessary.

Learn more about UTI here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Urinary Tract Infections, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/urinary-tract-infections Accessed September 8, 2021

About antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections, https://www.antibioticresearch.org.uk/find-support/urinary-tract-infections-utis/ Accessed September 8, 2021

Antibiotics: Are you misusing them?, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/antibiotics/art-20045720 Accessed September 8, 2021

Urinary Tract Infections, https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/uti Accessed September 8, 2021

Antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections are on the rise, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/antibiotic-resistant-urinary-tract-infections-are-on-the-rise-2019101417982 Accessed September 8, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Sep 09, 2021
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza