9 Facts About Cephalexin (Keflex) For UTI & 12 Tips When Treating UTI With Antibiotics

I took Cephalexin for UTI twice, other times I was prescribed Macrobid and Cipro. To be frank, I tolerate antibiotics very well, but this doesn’t mean that I like them. However, antibiotics are sometimes a necessary evil.

First of all, make sure that antibiotics are the right choice. If you only have pain in your bladder and it burns during or after urination but at the same time your urine is clear, antibiotics might not be the best solution. In fact, if you keep having UTIs, you might need to dig a little deeper (here are 25 most common UTI causes) and address the root cause rather than keep repeating antibiotic treatment.

If you see blood in your urine or it’s cloudy and has a strange smell, it may be time for antibiotics.

Check out this $20 online prescription service to order Cephalexin for UTI. The service is licensed in 25 states and they’ll send an antibiotics prescription to your nearest pharmacy the same day. (I’m not an affiliate of the company but I think it’s a great resource when you do not have an insurance).

Cephalexin (KEFLEX) & UTI: My Experience

I have had my share of UTIs several years ago. Fortunately, I was able to get rid of this chronic problem, mostly by relying on the special type of probiotics and some lifestyle changes.

If this is your first UTI and you are treating it with Cephalexin, it is not guaranteed that the UTI won’t come back.

Remember, the antibiotics will kill the bacteria that invaded your bladder, but antibiotics do nothing to address any of the underlying health conditions that caused a UTI in the first place.

If you do not want to experience the horrors of UTI again, make sure to implement smart prevention strategies, and do not rely solely on the antibiotics:

Cephalexin For UTI: How Soon It’ll Work

By the time you take your first pill you are probably desperate for a relief and wonder how soon Cephalexin will work.

It should work pretty quickly.

I felt almost an immediate relief when taking Cephalexin for UTI symptoms.

  • Within an hour after taking the first pill the pain with urination subsided.
  • In a few hours, I no longer had blood in my urine.
  • By the next day, all my symptoms were completely gone.
Can you boost Cephalexin performance?

However, if you truly want Cephalexin to work, make sure to boost the performance of antibiotics with bacterial biofilm enzymes and diet that keeps your urine alkaline.

Haven’t heard about bacterial biofilms? In a nutshell, bacteria group together on the surface of your bladder and release slime to protect themselves from antibiotics.

Some naturopathic doctors use enzymes and small molecules (for example, NAC), that are thought to aid in breaking bacterial biofilms and killing pathogenic bacteria.

Ask your doctor about NAC supplements to potentially help destroy bacterial biofilms.

What to expect when taking Cephalexin?
  • Once you start taking antibiotics, you should feel better within the first 8-12 hours. However, make sure to finish all pills regardless of how well you feel.
  • If you are not feeling better or if your symptoms are getting increasingly worse, if you start having any flank pain, or feel nausea and weakness, call your doctor.
  • Cephalexin might not work if you have a type of bacteria that are resistant to this antibiotic. However, in some cases, resistance could be mistaken with bacterial biofilms.

Cephalexin Could Increase The Risk Of Repeated UTIs

Cephalexin belongs to a category of cephalosporin antibiotics.

I recently came across a study that demonstrated that another drug from the cephalosporin group (Cephadroxil) promotes vaginal colonization with Escherichia coli (or E. coli), the number one bacteria causing UTIs.

It’s probably not a stretch to assume, that Cephalexin could have a similar effect on the vaginal microbiome.

Unfortunately, if your vagina is colonized with E. coli, you are almost guaranteed to have repeated UTIs after sex.

Healthy vaginas normally have an ability to deter E. coli bacteria and therefore play a key role in preventing UTIs. If your vaginal health is compromised, your risk of chronic UTIs is higher.

Cephalexin Could Promote Yeast Infection

Beneficial bacteria Lactobacilli are present in healthy vaginas and help to sustain an acidic pH that deters pathogens and yeast.

Like any other antibiotic, Cephalexin will deplete your good bacteria and a yeast infection is an almost guaranteed side effect.

Unfortunately, once your good bacteria are depleted, you are not only more prone to a yeast infection but also more vulnerable to your own E. coli bacteria. This, in turn, could lead to recurrent UTIs.

Cephalexin May Not Address Bacterial Biofilms & Cure Chronic UTI

If this is not your first UTI, know one thing: you are not fighting a single-celled bacterium that is free-floating in your bladder. Most likely, you are fighting bacterial biofilms.

Cephalexin slows or stops the growth of the bacteria cells, which bacteria need to survive. However, bacteria eventually learn how to hide from the antibiotic attack.

One of the methods is to team up, cover themselves with a slime, and hide in deeper layers of your bladder lining. This allows bacteria to wait till you stop taking antibiotics and then renew their activity.

This bacterial method of defense is called “bacterial biofilms”.

Your UTI-like Symptoms Mays Still Persist after Cephalexin

There are several scenarios which could explain why after taking antibiotics you could still feel some or all UTI-like symptoms.

First of all, you could be resistant to this particular medication. Second, it could be that it wasn’t even a UTI, to begin with. Obviously, it is critical to differentiate between these two options.

Here is my in-depth interview with urologist Dr. Lisa Hawes explaining the difference and what you could do about UTI symptoms that persist after antibiotic treatment.

Cephalexin For UTI Can Lead To Bacterial Resistance

How many pills did your physician prescribe you? Is this your first UTI? Did you have any flank pain? How long have you been experiencing your symptoms? Can you try NSAIDs instead to relieve the symptoms while your body is fighting the infection?

Keep these questions in mind when discussing the length of antibiotic treatment with your physician.

A systematic review of 15 studies, including 1,644 women aged over 75 years, concluded that short courses of antibiotics (varying from 3 to 6 days, depending on the antibiotic chosen) are as effective as long courses (7–14 days) for treating uncomplicated cystitis in older women.

The longer the duration of treatment, the higher your chances to develop an antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

However, do not shorten the prescribed course yourself and always consult with your prescribing physician.

Frequent Side Effects Of Cephalexin

Personally, when taking Cephalexin for UTI I tolerated this antibiotic well. However, mild side-effects are possible.

Aside from yeast infections, the top three complaints we’ve seen related to Cephalexin are:

  • Allergies (most reported)
  • Thrush
  • Nausea

Other possible side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness, feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.

Other Antibiotic Options Besides Cephalexin For UTI:

Cephalexin And Pregnancy

There are no conclusive studies of using Cephalexin in pregnant women.

But from what we know so far, Cephalexin is shown to be very effective and complications to mother and child are very rare.

Be Careful If Allergic To Penicillin

According to a study published in Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, if you are allergic to penicillins, your chances of having an allergic reaction to cephalexin are about 11%.

However, later, other researchers debunked this “myth” by proposing that a history of penicillin allergy is a general risk factor to be allergic to any antibiotics and is not specific to cephalosporins, such as Cephalexin.

12 Tips When Treating UTI With Antibiotics

  1. Take antibiotics regularly

    You need to make sure to take one pill every 12 hours (unless prescribed otherwise) to support a constant level of antibiotics in your body. It is better to take the first pill sometime between 7-10 (a.m or p.m.).

    When treating my first UTI infection I took the first pill at 3 p.m. For the following 7 days, I had to set my alarm for 3 a.m. in the morning to take my night dose. Not fun!

  2. Take pills on time

    Once you take your first pill, set your phone timer for 12 hours. Repeat it every time you take a pill till you are done.

  3. Plan ahead

    Make sure to take your pills to work! For example, I separated mine into two containers so that I would always have some in my purse for the 3 p.m. pill and the rest would be by my bed for the 3 a.m. dose.

  4. Take all pills

    To clear up your infection completely, take antibiotics for the full course of treatment. Keep taking it even if you feel better in a few days.

    If you stop taking the antibiotics early you’ll increase your chances of a repeated infection and antibiotic resistance.

  5. Do not take extra

    If you forget and miss a dose, take the pill as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next one. Do not take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

  6. Stay sober

    It’s better to avoid alcohol as sometimes it can worsen the side effects, and sometimes it can affect the effectiveness of a drug.

    Moreover, since your liver is already under serious pressure to deal with the infection and the antibiotics, you do not want to overwhelm it with alcohol.

  7. Support your vaginal and bladder flora

    Start on a course of probiotics right away and plan for one more right after your treatment.

    Studies show that if you take probiotics while taking the antibiotics your beneficial flora will recover to its normal state faster and you are less likely to develop a yeast infection.

    Wait a couple hours if possible to take your probiotic pill; do not take it at the same time as antibiotics, and snack on a yogurt afterward.

  8. Revitalize your microbiome after

    Continue with more probiotics after you finish your course of antibiotics. Make sure to buy special probiotics containing beneficial vaginal bacteria. This could help you to prevent infections in the future.

  9. Watch out for serious side effects

    Do read the potential side effect of the antibiotics that your physician prescribed you. Let your doctor know if you develop diarrhea or vomiting.

    Some antibiotics (doxycycline, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, ofloxacin, trimethoprimcould also make your skin sensitive to the sun.

  10. Avoid Cipro

    If your doc prescribed you Cipro, ask him/her if you can start with an alternative option.

    Since 2016 FDA does not recommend prescribing Cipro for uncomplicated UTIs, but too many physicians still do not know. Make sure you are your own advocate.

  11. Take NAC supplements

If you are suffering from recurrent UTIs, learn about fighting microbial biofilms. Some naturopathic doctors use NAC supplements in hopes of helping destroy the slime that bacteria produce to hide from antibiotics and your immune system’s response.

12. Take D-Mannose with antibiotics

Currently, there is no information about D-Mannose interaction with antibiotics or any other drugs.

If you are considering to boost your antibiotic treatment, I’d give D-Mannose a try. After all, D-Mannose is simply a sugar.

What type of antibiotics have you tried? Leave me a comment, join our Facebook group. I’d love to hear from you.

My Most Popular UTI Guides

  1. 8 natural strategies to prevent recurrent UTI
  2. 7 Unexpected Facts About Vaginal Discharge And UTI
  3. Oral Sex Can Cause UTI
  4. Can I Get a UTI From My Partner?
  1. Using antibiotics responsibly: right drug, right time, right dose, right duration.
  2. Antibiotic duration for treating uncomplicated, symptomatic lower urinary tract infections in elderly women.
  3. Cephadroxil promotes vaginal colonization with Escherichia coli.
  4. Cross-reactivity and Tolerability of Cephalosporins in Patients With Cell-Mediated Allergy to Penicillins
  5. Treatments for symptomatic urinary tract infections during pregnancy

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