Dealing with a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) while traveling: what you need to know

UTI waiting line
How will I manage to walk around Rome all day, if I feel the urge to stop at every single public bathroom on the way?

Most women will know what we are talking about: the UTI, or urinary tract infection is extremely common among women. 

They may also know that, as uncomfortable as they can be, UTIs can often be treated fairly quickly. 

In fact, you may simply have to add a visit to a urine infection specialist doctor near you, to your sightseeing checklist.

If a UTI is threatening to ruin your holiday, don’t let it do so. For a common UTI antibiotics can be very effective, and make you feel better very fast.

Let’s start from the basics.

What is a UTI?

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are caused by the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract. Depending on whether the bacteria travel up to the kidneys or stops at the bladder, UTIs are classified as bladder infections or kidney infections.

Kidneys: filter blood to produce urine

Bladder: stores urine till a person urinates

Ureters: transmit urine from the kidneys to the bladder

Urethra: removes urine from the bladder

urinary tract and kidneys

A doctor for urine infection is likely to understand whether you have a UTI simply by checking your symptoms and running a urine test.

Typical symptoms of a UTI

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, head to a clinic for a check-up visit:

  • Intense pain or burning when you urinate
  • A frequent need to urinate
  • Bloody urine


If the infection has reached your kidneys, you may also suffer from:

  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in your back

UTI treatment

It’s not rare to hear someone at a pharmacy asking how to get antibiotics for UTI withoug seeing a doctor.

Remember that in Italy pharmacies are not allowed to sell antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.

Though you can easily find over-the-counter medications at any pharmacy, these are often ineffective, and you will need to have a doctor prescribe you antibiotics to treat the infection.

A dose of antibiotics can last from 3 to 15 days, depending on whether the bacteria have reached the kidneys or not. But don’t panic!

Need a prescription?

Meanwhile, you could take a pain-killer to ease the burning feel and avoid falling behind on your perfectly planned Italian holiday schedule.

For many men and women, urinary tract infections can be a recurring problem, which interferes with their daily routine, causing pain and discomfort. Here a few tips recommended by urine infection specialists to prevent another UTI:

  • Drink water, water, and more water to flush out bacteria from your body
  • Finish the dose of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. Do not interrupt the treatment because you are feeling better.
  • Urinate immediately after sexual intercourse (remember that this can help you against UTI, but does not prevent STD!!).
  • Avoid using spermicides as a form of birth-control
  • If you have been through menopause, ask a doctor about vaginal oestrogen

Don’t let UTIs prevent you from exploring Italy and fully enjoying your Italian vacation. Contact us to see a doctor, and start the treatment right away!


It usually takes just one day of antibiotics to ease UTI symptoms and feel much better!

DoctorsinItaly Team

This article was written, curated, and updated by the DoctorsinItaly team, as part of our efforts to share relevant and current information on health and wellness related topics, as well as on life as an expat or traveler in Italy.