There are several common symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs), though they do not always appear. When they do present themselves, the most typically experienced UTI symptoms include burning or pain while urinating and a constant urge to urinate. Other symptoms depend on the age and sex of the patient, and the type and severity of the infection.
Additional common UTI symptoms include frequent urination in small amounts or urine with a strong smell. Urine may also appear cloudy or have a bright pink or cola hue, which means blood could be present in the urine. Men can experience rectal pain, while women might experience pain in the pelvis. Young children often have more intense UTI symptoms, such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever.
UTI symptoms also depend on where the infection is in the urinary tract. If the infection is in the urethra, a burning sensation with urination is usually the most prominent symptom. An infection in the bladder can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen and pressure on the pelvis, in addition to bloody, painful, and frequent urination.
The symptoms of an infection of the kidneys are more intense, and can include nausea, fever, vomiting, chills with shaking, and pain in the flanks and back. Some UTI symptoms will go away without intervention within a few days. Symptoms that become more severe or persist should be treated as quickly as possible in order to avoid a more serious infection. An infection that spreads to the kidneys is more serious than other UTIs and can lead to hospitalization if not treated promptly.
The term urinary tract infection can be used to describe any infection that starts in the urinary system. It is most common for the urethra and bladder to be affected, though the kidneys and ureters also become infected. The condition is most common among women. UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics, either orally or via intravenous injection, depending on the severity of the infection.
Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that tend to live in the colon. Conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones, abnormalities in the anatomy of the urinary tract, and urethral strictures can increase the risk of infection. In general, the best way to prevent a UTI is to avoid impeding the natural flow of urine. This will allow bacteria to leave the body, instead of becoming backed-up where it can develop into an infection. Drinking adequate fluids and eliminating regularly and completely are also effective preventative measures.