Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections that can affect any part of your urinary system, including your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. They’re more common than you might think and are especially prevalent among women. In fact, about half of all women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime.
So let’s dive right in and examine the telltale signs of a UTI. And remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider.
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Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
1. Increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
One of the primary symptoms of a urinary tract infection is a constant urge to urinate. You might feel like you need to go every few minutes, even if your bladder isn’t full. This sensation can be quite annoying, but it’s a surefire sign that something’s up.
2. Burning sensation when you urinate
Now, when you do manage to go, you might experience a burning sensation during urination. Ouch! This painful symptom, known as dysuria, is caused by irritated or inflamed urinary tract tissues. No one wants to feel the burn, so take this symptom seriously.
3. Cloudy, Smelly, or Bloody Urine
Another indication of a possible UTI is a change in the appearance or smell of your urine. It might become cloudy, dark, or have a strong, unpleasant odor. In some cases, you may even notice blood in your urine. This is definitely not something to ignore.
4. Pain and Discomfort in the Pelvic Area
If you’re dealing with a urinary tract infection, you might feel pain or discomfort in your lower abdomen or back. For women, this discomfort is often located in the pelvic area, while men might experience pain in the rectal region. Don’t brush off these aches, as they could point to a UTI.
Further Reading: Can Men Get UTIs?
5. General feeling of being unwell and fatigue
A urinary tract infection can leave you feeling fatigued or ill. Your body is working overtime to fight the infection, which can sap your energy levels. If you’re suddenly more tired than usual and are experiencing other UTI symptoms, it’s time to pay attention.
6. Fever and Chills
If a UTI progresses and becomes more severe, it may lead to fever and chills. This is a sign that the infection has moved up to your kidneys, which can be dangerous. This condition is called urosepsis. In other words, a high fever or chills and shaking should never be taken lightly. Consult a healthcare professional right away.
What to Do If You Suspect a UTI
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get in touch with a healthcare provider. They’ll likely ask for a urine sample to confirm the presence of bacteria and may prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection. The sooner you get treatment, the better.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
In the meantime, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Basically, drinking plenty of water can assist in flushing out bacteria and diluting your urine, making it less irritating to your urinary tract.
You should also avoid beverages and foods that can irritate your urinary tracts, such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods. Opt for soothing options instead, like herbal tea or water.
Use a Heating Pad
Placing a heating pad on your lower abdomen can help alleviate pain and discomfort. Just be sure not to use it for extended periods or at too high a temperature.
Prevention is Key
Although urinary tract infections can be treated, it’s better to avoid them altogether. Simple steps like wiping front to back, urinating after sex, and staying well-hydrated can go a long way in preventing UTIs.
Further Reading: 12 Home Remedies for UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)