If you are menopausal, you may experience more frequent urinary tract infections because thinning of the tissues of the vagina and urethra following menopause may make these areas less resistant to bacteria. Hormone replacement (either systemic or vaginal) may help. Discuss this treatment option and the latest research about its risks and benefits with your health care professional, with your personal health history and needs in mind.
Severe kidney infections may require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous antibiotics, especially if nausea, vomiting and fever increase the risk of dehydration and prevent the ability to swallow pills. Kidney infections can require two to six weeks of antibiotic therapy, although if caught early, they may be able to be treated with a 10-day course.
In addition to taking your medication, your health care professional may recommend drinking plenty of fluid (the equivalent of six to eight 8-ounce glasses a day) to help flush the urinary tract, and to avoid foods and beverages that can irritate the urinary tract, such as coffee and alcohol. A heating pad may also help to temporarily relieve pain.
After you've completed your course of medication, your health care professional also may suggest a follow-up urine test.