What Are The Symptoms Of a UTI?
Are you preoccupied with the sudden and persistent urge to urinate?
When you urinate does only a small bit come out, but you continue to feel the push to try to urinate more?
Does the small stream of urine that dribbles out cause sharp pain and burning in your lower abdomen?
Do tears well up because it hurts to pee from what feels like your urine being full of tiny blades as it passes out your urethra?
These are some of the most obvious and memorable symptoms of a UTI. If you have had one, you are no stranger to the feeling of a urinary tract infection. If this is your first UTI, the pain and symptoms can be shocking. A UTI can be extremely painful while urinating, and cause pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen between urinating. It can also be disruptive to sleep or everyday activities because of the frequency of needing to urinate.
A urinary tract infection is an infection of any part of the urinary tract. Most commonly, urinary tract infections affect the bladder (cystitis) or urethra (urethritis). (1) It is important to seek treatment if you have any of the symptoms of a UTI to prevent it from infecting the kidneys (acute pyelonephritis) (1), which can become life threatening.
In addition to the pain, the infection causes the urgent and frequent urge to urinate. Since a UTI causes frequent urination, there may be very little actual urine coming out when attempting to urinate. Even if there is just a small bit of urine, the passing of the urine through the infected bladder and/or urethra causes intense pain and burning. Even after the flow of urine has stopped, the pain and the sensation of needing to urinate can continue.
The Symptoms or a Urinary Tract Infection Include:
• Frequent and persistent need to urinate
• Light to extreme pain or burning during urination
• Small amounts of urine or no urine when trying to urinate
• Urge to continue to empty bladder after urine flow has stopped
• Urine that is cloudy in appearance, discharge in urine
• Blood in the urine, pink, red or dark urine
• Urine that smells strong or bad
• Feeling of bloat or pressure in the lower abdomen
• Pain, sensitivity and tenderness in lower abdomen
• Pelvic pain in women or penile pain in men
• Unusual tiredness, shakiness or weakness
• Feeling of confusion, distraction or mental changes
• Incontinence (inability to prevent urine leakage)
• Waking up often to urinate at night or unusual bedwetting
Symptoms the Infection has Reached the Kidneys Include:
• Pain, aching or pressure in your mid-lower back on either side or both sides of your spine
• Fever with or without chills or sweating
• Feeling of nausea or vomiting
A kidney infection can cause permanent kidney damage and be life threatening. A kidney infection can quickly become urosepsis, sepsis caused by a UTI. (3) Sepsis can also be caused by other infections and happens when the body has an extreme reaction to an infection and the immune system attacks itself. Sepsis can cause tissue damage leading to amputations, organ failure and death. 30% of sepsis cases are deadly. (10) With severe sepsis organ failure and obvious signs such as decreased urine output – kidneys, difficulty breathing – lungs and mental decline – brain, start to happen. In the final stages septic shock takes place and causes the blood pressure to fall to life-threatening levels. Always see a doctor immediately if you have symptoms of a kidney infection to prevent sepsis.
Testing for a Urinary Tract Infection
To help determine if you have a UTI the doctor will do testing from a urine sample to diagnose. Clinics and health centers, such as Planned Parenthood, do affordable testing for a UTI, as well. If you think you are having symptoms of a UTI and want a quick easy at home test you can find at home urinary tract infection tests strips Here. Do not use at home uti tests as a replacement for a doctor’s visit.
One thing to keep in mind when going to the doctor to get tested for a UTI, some studies have shown that the tests fail to detect up to 20% of urinary tract infections. (11) (12) If you feel you have a urinary tract infection and are told that your test is negative, get a second opinion to prevent a potential infection from becoming worse and more dangerous.
Could it be Something Else?
There are other conditions that can cause symptoms that are similar to a urinary tract infection, so it’s important to get diagnosed by a doctor to ensure correct treatment. Some conditions that may present similar symptoms to a urinary tract infection are STDs, vaginitis, interstitial cystitis, overactive bladder, bladder prolapse, yeast infection and ovarian cysts, for example. (8) (9)
Knowing the Symptoms of a UTI Helps Prevent UTIs
By recognizing the symptoms of a urinary tract infection early you can start treatment quickly. While, antibiotics are the recommended treatment for a UTI, overuse of antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance and increasing difficulty in treating infections. Prevention of recurring urinary tract infections is important to prevent over-reliance on antibiotics. To help prevent and treat a UTI you can find cranberry, d-mannose and probiotics options Here. Along with drinking plenty of water, these products help eliminate bacteria from the urinary tract to reduce inflammation and infection and help maintain urinary health.
What are your experiences with UTIs and what symptoms affected you most? Feel free to leave questions or comments below.
*The information in this article is not meant to provide medical information or be a substitute for medical advice. It is also not intended to provide diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and all medical decisions should be made with your personal physician. Read more here.