How Do You Know If You Have UTI Symptoms?

Reviewed on 8/16/2021

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections that affect the bladder (cystitis) or the kidneys (pyelonephritis) in the urinary tract. UTI symptoms include pain or a burning sensation on urination, urinary urgency, urinary frequency, blood in the urine, and lower abdominal discomfort.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) symptoms include pain or a burning sensation on urination, urinary urgency, urinary frequency, blood in the urine, and lower abdominal discomfort.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections that affect the bladder (cystitis) or the kidneys (pyelonephritis) in the urinary tract. 

You may have a urinary tract infection if you have the following symptoms: 

  • Bladder infection 
    • Pain or a burning sensation on urination
    • Urinary urgency
    • Urinary frequency
    • Blood in the urine
    • Lower abdominal discomfort
  • Kidney infection 
    • Symptoms of a bladder infection as well as: 
      • Fever
      • Flank pain (on one or both sides of the lower back, where the kidneys are located)
      • Nausea 
      • Vomiting

See a doctor right away if you have symptoms of a kidney infection because delaying treatment can lead to serious complications.

What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria getting into the urethra and traveling up into the urinary tract.

Risk factors for developing urinary tract infections include:

  • Frequent sexual intercourse
  • Bladder or kidney infection that occurred in the past 12 months
  • Use of spermicides for birth control 
  • A genetic predisposition to UTIs
  • Conditions such as kidney stones or ureteral reflux that block or change the flow of urine in the kidneys 
  • Diabetes
  • For men, not being circumcised or having insertive anal sex

How Is a Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosed?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are usually diagnosed with a urine test. 

  • Urinalysis
    • The presence of white blood cells in the urine may be a sign of infection
  • Urine culture
    • A sample of urine is taken to try and grow bacteria in a laboratory to identify the type of bacteria causing the UTI and determine which antibiotics would be effective against those bacteria

For recurrent bladder infections, additional testing may be needed to check for abnormalities in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra, or for kidney stones.

What Is the Treatment for a Urinary Tract Infection?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are usually treated with antibiotics, such as:

Phenazopyridine (Pyridium, available by prescription, or Uristat, available over-the-counter [OTC]) may be used to numb the bladder and urethra and reduce the burning pain of some UTIs.

Medications to treat kidney infections include: 

There are no good studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice for treating UTIs.

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Reviewed on 8/16/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults-the-basics?search=UTI&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2