9 Symptoms of a Urinary Infection Everyone Should Know
Yes, UTI symptoms can be obvious. But please pay attention to these.
The deal with getting a urinary tract infections (UTI)
Anyone who’s suffered through a urinary tract infection will tell you that they’ll do anything to never experience one again. A UTI occurs when bacteria gets into your urine, travels up the urethra, and then into your bladder. According to the Urology Care Foundation, 10 in 25 women and three in 25 men will develop at least one urinary infection in their lifetime. Proper hygiene, such as wiping front to back after bowel movements, peeing right after sex, washing foreskin regularly, and avoiding douches, are a few ways to prevent UTIs from occurring. Unfortunately, a woman’s anatomy makes her more prone to getting UTIs because her urethra is shorter, meaning bacteria has less of a distance to travel before getting to the bladder. In addition, because the opening of the urethra is in front of the vagina, bacteria near the vagina can get into the urethra from contact with the penis, fingers, or devices during sex. Read on to learn about the symptoms of a urinary infection so you can head to your physician for treatment as soon as you spot them. Here are natural home remedies for a UTI.
Urinating is accompanied by a sharp pain or burning sensation
An uncomfortable burning sensation upon urination is one of the symptoms of a urinary infection. This sharp pain, called dysuria, can be felt in the urethra or perineum, which is the area surrounding your genitals. “Oftentimes, the burning is from the acidic urine irritating the lining of the bladder and urethra,” said Lisa Hawes, MD, a urologist with Chesapeake Urology Associates and spokesperson for the Urology Care Foundation. “The bacteria damages the lining of the bladder and urethra and then the acidic urine acts like alcohol over a cut, causing the burn.”
You need to pee—AGAIN
If you find yourself going to the bathroom all day long, track just how often nature is calling for you. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, UTIs can cause urge incontinence, which is also known as hyperactive, irritable or overactive bladder. Going to the bathroom more than eight times in 24 hours, including a couple times overnight, could be one of the symptoms of a urinary infection. These are the health secrets your bladder wishes it could tell you.
You gotta go—now!
You’ll also find that accidents and leaks are more likely to happen if you’ve developed a UTI. Ordinarily, we’re able to contain our urine long enough to get to a bathroom, but if there’s an infection, the urge can be uncontrollable because the muscle surrounding the bladder starts contracting before the bladder is full signaling that it is “time to go.”
Your urine looks cloudy
If your urine isn’t its usual clear straw-yellow or a lighter color, something could be amiss. Urine is comprised of waste and byproducts that have been cleared away from the foods, drinks, and medications you’ve consumed along with water, bacteria, environmental toxins, and other elements. A cloudy color could be one of the symptoms of a urinary infection. “Many things change urine color, including things we eat, medicines we take, and the concentration of the urine,” Dr. Hawes said. “Oftentimes with a UTI, the urine is cloudy with possible small whitish debris.” Here’s what else your urine can reveal about your health.
Your urine has a strong, foul odor
Urine isn’t exactly supposed to smell like potpourri—and some medicines or foods like asparagus can be the culprit behind some strong, nasty scents, but if you’ve noticed a distinct change in your pee’s odor when there’s been no change in your diet or medication, that may be one of the symptoms of a urinary infection. While sweet-smelling urine could indicate uncontrolled diabetes and a spike in blood glucose levels, foul-smelling pee could indicate the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract or an infection in your bladder.
You have soreness in your lower abdomen, back, or sides
The type of pain experience could also indicate where the infection has taken place. Pain in the back and side could signal a kidney infection or pyelonephritis. Pressure in the pelvic area or lower abdomen is a symptom of a bladder infection also known as cystitis. In men, an infection in the urethra, or urethritis, is accompanied by irritation and soreness at the tip of the penis and is a common occurrence, with 80,000 cases diagnosed every year. Symptoms of bacterial prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland due to an infection in the urinary tract, typically include pain in the lower back, penis, testicles, rectum, and the area between the scrotum and anus. These
Urine is a red or pinkish color
If you notice that your urine is tinted with a pinkish color, it could indicate a presence of blood, which can be one of the symptoms of a urinary infection or kidney stones. Note that this could also indicate a more serious health issue like bladder or kidney cancer so contact your physician if you notice blood in your urine. “Blood in the urine in the presence of a UTIs not uncommon,” Dr. Hawes said. “Blood in the urine without an infection needs to be evaluated by a specialist. The specialist will rule out stones, blockages, and cancers.” These are the things you never knew about peeing.
You experience extreme fatigue
Although fatigue is one of the less common symptoms, a UTI could cause tiredness or fatigue. “Sometimes, a UTI will present in a subtle way,” Pam Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women told Women’s Day. “Feeling tired and drained is common. This occurs because the woman is harboring an infection in her bladder, which creates a state of inflammation,” Dr. Peek says. The inflammation sparks immune defenses and thus could cause fatigue.
You have a loss of appetite or nausea
Loss of appetite or nausea is also a less-common symptom of a UTI. Some people could even vomit if the infection is severe or has spread to the kidneys, Women’s Health reports. That said, nausea or vomiting alone isn’t an automatic sign of a UTI—it could be paired with other symptoms.
If you suspect UTI symptoms, see a doctor
As painful as UTIs can be, at least treatment is quick and effective. A physician will generally prescribe antibiotics that will clear a simple bacterial infection in a matter of days. But if the infection is left untreated, it could develop into a life-threatening blood infection called sepsis or the bacteria could spread to your kidneys, which causes other symptoms such as back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Next, check out the everyday habits that could mess with your vagina health.