Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections, especially for women. Antibiotics are the standard treatment for UTIs and are typically obtained through a doctor, but various factors can make someone unable to visit their doctor, including transportation issues or being away on vacation.
Whatever the reason for not being able to visit a doctor, there are options available that allow you to still receive an antibiotic prescription. In addition to seeing a pharmacist, who can prescribe antibiotics for UTIs, online doctors are another valuable resource.
Using an online doctor such as DrHouse allows you to virtually meet with a doctor and receive the prescription you need, no matter where you are.
How Do Antibiotics Help Against UTIs?
One of the most common infections to impact the urinary system is a urinary tract infection (UTI). In addition to affecting the urinary tract, a UTI may also involve the surrounding organs:
- urethra (urethritis)
- kidneys (pyelonephritis)
- bladder (cystitis)
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary system, typically from outside the body, causing infection and inflammation. Antibiotics are used to eradicate bacteria from the body, which is why they are effective for UTIs and can help clear up the infection.
Can A Pharmacist Prescribe Antibiotics for UTIs?
While most individuals assume that only a doctor can prescribe antibiotics, there are 32 minor ailments (in some states, only 12) that a pharmacist can prescribe antibiotics for, and UTIs are one of them.
Pharmacists are able to prescribe antibiotics for a UTI because it is classified as a non-serious condition and does not require a blood test or any other lab test for diagnosis. A UTI is labeled as a non-serious condition because it can be cured with very minimal treatment and/or self-care strategies, and there are, in fact, many individuals whose UTI goes away on its own.
In order to prescribe antibiotics, the pharmacist will still need to complete an assessment, usually completed in a private consulting room next to the pharmacy. These assessments will very closely resemble doctor’s appointments where they ask for a detailed medical history and symptom description. All history of the antibiotic prescription will also be sent to your doctor for their records.
How Can I Get A UTI Prescription Without Going to The Doctor?
Antibiotics are typically the most effective treatment for UTIs because they have a high bacteriological cure rate which significantly reduces the chance of reinfection. However, it is not always possible or ideal to go to a doctor in order to receive the prescription, and thankfully, there are other options available.
Use an Online Doctor
Meeting with an online doctor is one of the most convenient ways to get a prescription for a UTI without physically seeing a doctor. Using an online doctor service app, such as DrHouse, you can quickly meet with a doctor and receive the prescription you need.
DrHouse is available to download from the App Store or Google Play, and once it is downloaded, simply make an account and then request an appointment.
Within 15 minutes, you will be meeting with a doctor, all from the comfort of your house (or wherever you may be). This is ideal for those who may be on vacation and cannot meet with their primary physician but need a prescription. Those who have a hard time scheduling transportation to the doctor’s office also benefit immensely from the convenient nature of online doctor appointments.
With DrHouse, all doctors you meet with are board-certified and eligible to write most prescriptions, antibiotics for UTIs included. Because of this, getting a prescription for a UTI has never been easier than it is when utilizing the DrHouse app.
Visit a Pharmacist
As discussed previously, pharmacists can write prescriptions for antibiotics used for UTIs. Visiting a pharmacist is another option for those who do not wish to go to the doctor or cannot go because of your location. Keep in mind that some pharmacists may require you to create an appointment for your consultation; they cannot always accommodate you as soon as you show up.
Are There Any Over-The-Counter Medicines That Can Help?
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for UTIs are typically intended for use with antibiotics to help address some side effects and pain.
For example, phenazopyridine (Azo Urinary Pain Relief, Pyridium) is an OTC medication commonly used in conjunction with antibiotics to help numb the urinary tract lining. These actions help to make urination more comfortable while the antibiotics start working.
Yet another pain-relief option is Cystex, which combines methenamine, sodium salicylate, and benzoic acid.
Home Remedies for UTIs
Most home remedies for UTI revolve around preventing infection, and the only true way to fight a UTI is using antibiotics. Still, these home remedies may help decrease the risk of developing an infection for those who are more susceptible to UTIs.
Drink Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
For those looking for a natural way to prevent a UTI, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most common (and tastiest) options. Cranberry juice is commonly associated with UTI prevention because cranberries prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract, which helps to prevent infection.
Take A Probiotic
The primary benefit of probiotics involves their promotion of a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which can be helpful for those who are taking antibiotics. While antibiotics do a great job of getting rid of the bacteria causing the UTI, they also disturb the good bacteria that keep our body well-balanced, including the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Probiotics help restore gut bacteria and reduce any side effects caused by antibiotics.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Multiple studies have found that poor hydration levels increase the risk of UTI infection. This is likely because the more hydrated you are, the more you urinate, which helps flush bacteria from the urinary tract and decreases the risk of infection.
The benefits of proper hydration in UTI prevention were supported in a recent 12-month study with 140 female participants when they found that increased fluid intake led to a decrease in UTI frequency.
Up Your Vitamin C Intake
Your vitamin C intake is another factor that can contribute to UTI frequency, and this is because vitamin C increases the acidity of the urine. It is suspected that this increase in acidity creates an environment in the urinary tract that is unsuitable for bacteria, preventing UTIs.
Research surrounding the impact of vitamin C consumption on UTI prevention is limited, but an older study found that women who took 100mg of vitamin C every day had half as many UTIs as the control group.
While vitamin C supplements are always an option, there are many fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of vitamin C, including:
- red peppers
When To See a Doctor If You Have A UTI?
In most cases, it is a good idea to see a doctor as soon as you suscept you have a UTI, but you should especially visit a doctor if the symptoms are getting worse or if they have not improved after a few days.
It is also crucial to see a doctor if you have any symptoms of an upper UTI, which include:
- a fever
- shivering and chills
- pain in your back or sides
- nausea and vomiting
- agitation or restlessness
Upper UTIs impact the kidneys or ureters and can be severe if left untreated.
It’s also important to see a doctor if you are considered to have a complicated UTI, which includes cases with:
- urinary tract abnormalities present
- the elderly
- an existing comorbidity that increases treatment resistance or risk of infection
Get Help from An Online Doctor
For those with a UTI, an online doctor is an easy and convenient way to meet with a doctor and receive an antibiotic prescription or over-the-counter option to help treat your UTI.
With the DrHouse app, you can request an appointment, meet with a board-certified doctor, and receive a prescription. For those who need medical guidance, DrHouse offers meetings in 15 minutes no matter where you are.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections most commonly treated with antibiotics. Besides seeing a doctor, there are various other methods of receiving an antibiotic prescription, one option being online doctors. With online doctor service apps such as DrHouse, you can meet with a doctor in 15 minutes and receive the antibiotic prescription you need to treat your UTI, no matter where you are.
Pharmacists are another option, as antibiotics for UTIs are one of the medications they can prescribe. Various home remedies can also help prevent UTIs, which are helpful for those who experience them frequently.
If your UTI symptoms get worse, have not improved after a few days, or if you experience symptoms of an upper UTI infection, be sure to visit a doctor as these may be signs of more serious conditions.
- Ochoa-Brust, G., Fernández, A., Villanueva-Ruiz, G., Velasco, R., Trujillo-Hernández, B., & Vásquez, C. (2007). Daily intake of 100 mg ascorbic acid as urinary tract infection prophylactic agent during pregnancy. Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 86(7), 783-787. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1080/00016340701273189
- Benjamin J. McCollum, J. (2020). PURLs: Can drinking more water prevent urinary tract infections?. The Journal Of Family Practice, 69(3), E19. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271893/
- Storme, O., Tirán Saucedo, J., Garcia-Mora, A., Dehesa-Dávila, M., & Naber, K. (2019). Risk factors and predisposing conditions for urinary tract infection. Therapeutic Advances In Urology, 11, 175628721881438. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1177/1756287218814382
- Sihra, N., Goodman, A., Zakri, R., Sahai, A., & Malde, S. (2018). Nonantibiotic prevention and management of recurrent urinary tract infection. Nature Reviews Urology, 15(12), 750-776. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1038/s41585-018-0106-x
- Can You Treat UTIs Without Antibiotics?. (2022). Retrieved 8 March 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-wellness-uti-antibiotics
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.