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"Is it possible for a urinary tract infection to go away on its own?"

ZocdocAnswersIs it possible for a urinary tract infection to go away on its own?


A few weeks ago urination was excruciating and the urge to go was constant. Today, there is only a stench with urination and absolutely no pain. I am positive that it is some sort of tract infection, since I have had many in my life. I am 42 and a bit worried that the lack of feeling could mean something besides the clearing of the problem. You should also be aware that I took an over the counter med for urinary infection symptoms for 4 days, while traveling, since I could not get into the doctor. I did not make an appointment, because the pain is now gone.


Until recently there was not much scientific evidence to help answer your question. But even without current scientific evidence, which I will explore below, there is a reasonable answer based on a little history. First, let me provide a little background and epidemiology. We know that approximately 20% of women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) during their life, and of these women one-fifth will have a second or more infection in their lifetime. Pregnant women are even more likely than their non-pregnant counterparts to develop UTIs as are women with diabetes.As prevalent as UTIs are today, there is little reason to believe that in the time before antibiotics they were less so. Consequently, anyone with a UTI had to clear the infection without antibiotics by necessity. The human immune system evolved in for most of time without the aid of antibiotics and is quite effective still. In fact, many antibiotics do not actually destroy bacteria, but rather halt their ability to grow and divide giving time for the immune system to work at clearing the infection. For simple infections antibiotics most likely speed the time to recovery and decrease the likelihood of complications, but may not be necessary to actually cure them. To test this idea researchers in Germany recently randomized eighty women with UTI symptoms without evidence of complications to either three days of symptom control with ibuprofen or the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. The results of this small study suggested that ibuprofen was not worse than the antibiotic at treating the UTIs. So while this is just one, relatively small study, it does seem to suggest that your experience may not be unique. Nevertheless, it is important to see your primary care physician who can evaluate your symptoms and help direct you to the appropriate therapy. Good luck!

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