If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know just how uncomfortable – even painful – the infection can be. According to the Mayo Clinic, a UTI develops in your urinary system and could occur anywhere in the urinary tract: particularly in the urethra or the bladder. If left untreated, the infection might spread to your kidneys and lead to some serious health consequences.
Because women are more prone to developing a UTI, it’s important to be aware of all of the signs of a UTI: those that are obvious, and those that are not-so-obvious.
Burning feeling when you pee
You know that awful, burning sensation when you pee? This uncomfortable feeling is one of the more common signs of a UTI — but because it’s so hallmark, it’s essential to be able to recognize. The feeling occurs as a result of inflammation in the lining of your bladder, caused by the formation of white blood cells. It could make your bathroom runs pretty agonizing, so heed it as a warning sign and schedule a visit to a medical professional.
Intense urge to pee
A burning sensation and frequent urges? Yikes. A frequent and intense urge to pee is another sign of an infection. You might find yourself running back and forth from the bathroom — even if only a little urine trickles out.
You might know that pain in the lower abdomen is a surefire symptom, but did you know that back pain might indicate an infection too? If you’re feeling discomfort in your back, lower abdomen or pelvis, it might be a sign that bacteria has moved to areas where it shouldn’t, causing the infection. Pelvic or lower back pain should be noted as a sign that something’s off and should be reported in your visit.
Urine that smells strange
The scent of your urine can tell you a lot about your physical health. According to WebMD, strange-smelling urine might be a sign of an infection. Be aware of what’s normal for you – how does your urine usually smell? If its odor is significantly different—particularly if it smells foul or sickly sweet—it could signal that something’s up.
Urine that looks strange
Just like its smell, the appearance of your urine can give you a strong indication of your urinary tract’s health. While different factors might influence the color of your urine, healthy pee should range from a pale yellow to a deep amber. If your urine has taken on a cloudy, dark brown appearance, it might be due to blood from the infection. If you recognize this symptom, it’s time to get a check-up: Strange-looking urine is a strong indication that something’s awry.
Nausea, vomiting, and fever
An infection anywhere in your urinary tract can be seriously annoying. However, it’s when your UTI has spread to your kidneys that it might hold dangerous health consequences. That kind of infection is called acute pyelonephritis, and it’s characterized by a high fever, shaking and chills, nausea and vomiting. You might also feel pain in your upper back and side, where your kidneys are located. If you start experiencing these symptoms, address them with a health professional sooner than later to prevent any internal damage.