What to Expect During Days 3-5 of a UTI Antibiotic Treatment

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections that can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as frequent urination, pain or burning sensation during urination, and cloudy or strong-smelling urine. If you receive a diagnosis of a UTI, your healthcare provider will typically prescribe a course of antibiotics.

Antibiotics commonly used for UTIs include the following:

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

Understanding what to expect during antibiotic treatment can help you better navigate your treatment and recovery process.

What to Expect During Days 3-5 of My UTI Antibiotic Treatment

Antibiotics target the bacteria causing a UTI during the first few days of treatment. As the medication begins to work, you will gradually experience alleviation of your symptoms. You can expect further relief as treatment progresses into days 3-5.

Here are some common changes and improvements to anticipate during days 3-5 of UTI antibiotic treatment:

  • Decreased frequency and urgency to urinate: The constant urge to use the bathroom may diminish significantly.
  • Reduced pain or discomfort: Antibiotics work to combat infection and reduce inflammation, leading to a decrease in pelvic pain and discomfort during urination. Burning or stinging sensations should also start to go away, making urination much more comfortable.
  • Clearer urine: Urine should become less cloudy and have a lighter color. Clearer urine is a positive indicator that your infection is clearing up.
  • Improved general well-being: You may experience an overall improvement in how you are feeling and have increased energy levels.

Knowing what to expect during treatment will help encourage you and ensure you complete your entire antibiotic course.

Common Side Effects of Taking a UTI Antibiotic

Antibiotics are known to have common side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues like nausea and diarrhea, dizziness, rash, and yeast infections. While these side effects may be annoying, the benefits outweigh the risks of your UTI developing into a further infection and experiencing possible complications.

Less common but serious side effects from UTI antibiotics may include C.diff infection, allergic reactions, and antibiotic-resistant infections.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns about side effects from a UTI antibiotic. They can discuss different antibiotic treatments for UTIs and the risks and benefits associated with each one.

Make sure to inform your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are currently taking, as some antibiotics can interact with other medicines.

How Long Should I Take the UTI Antibiotic Before I See an Improvement in My Symptoms?

Most patients with uncomplicated UTIs notice an improvement in their symptoms after the first 1-2 days of starting antibiotics. If your UTI is more severe, you may need a few more days to feel better.

How long you take antibiotics for a UTI depends on how severe your UTI is and which medication your doctor prescribes. Some medications, such as fosfomycin, only require one dose, but most antibiotics require at least 3-7 days of treatment.

If you are still not feeling relief after 3-5 days, reach out to your healthcare provider; you may require a different prescription or need to be checked for a more severe infection.

Remember to complete your full course of antibiotics, even if your symptoms improve. Stopping the medication too early can lead to recurrent infections and the development of antibiotic resistance.

Dietary Changes to Make While Taking the UTI Antibiotic

Antibiotics can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in your gut, leading to digestive issues or yeast infections. Making dietary adjustments can improve your overall well-being while taking UTI antibiotics.

Here are a few valuable tips to follow during your course of antibiotic treatment:

  • Promote gut health. Focus on foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods, to help restore the natural balance in your gut.
  • Increase fiber. Foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables can prevent constipation and provide essential nutrients to aid in your recovery.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help dilute urine and flush out bacteria.
  • Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder. Coffee, alcohol, citrus juices, and sugary drinks can irritate your bladder and cause frequent urination.
  • Take probiotic supplements. Your doctor may recommend these to restore normal intestinal flora.
  • Consult with your doctor about any specific dietary restrictions. Certain foods, medications, and supplements can interact with antibiotics or decrease their effectiveness.

Some people start to feel relief after the first few days of antibiotic treatment, while others may need a little more time to recover. Understanding what to expect during days 3-5 of UTI antibiotic treatment can help you navigate the recovery process more effectively. Reach out to your healthcare provider with any questions that you may have about your UTI and antibiotic treatment.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, October 6). Antibiotic Use Questions and Answers. 

Cleveland Clinic. (2023, May 24). Antibiotics. 

Mayo Clinic. (2022, September 14). Urinary tract infection (UTI). 

Ramirez, J., Guarner, F., Fernandez, L.B., Maruy, A., Sdepanian, V.L., & Cohen, H. (2020). Antibiotics as Major Disruptors of Gut Microbiota. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 10, 572912. 


Lauren Rivera

Writer Bio

Lauren Rivera is a nationally certified neonatal intensive care nurse with over 15 years of experience. She serves as a nurse expert offering support and educational classes for women from preconception through childhood. Lauren is also a freelance health and wellness writer with works published on several nursing sites. She develops and curates content for various healthcare companies, and writes continuing education modules for other healthcare professionals.