Urinary Tract Infections - Symptoms

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What are urinary tract infection symptoms and signs?

Lower urinary tract infection

  • Bladder (cystitis): The lining of the urethra and bladder becomes inflamed and irritated.
  • Dysuria: pain or burning during urination
  • Frequency: more frequent urination (or waking up at night to urinate, sometimes referred to as nocturia); often with only a small amount of urine
  • Urgency: the sensation of having to urinate urgently
  • Cloudy, bad-smelling, or bloody urine
  • Lower abdominal pain or pelvic pressure
  • Mild fever (less than 101 F), chills, and "just not feeling well" (malaise)
  • Urethra (urethritis): Burning with urination

Upper urinary tract infection (pyelonephritis)

Symptoms develop rapidly and may or may not include the symptoms for a lower urinary tract infection.

  • Fairly high fever (higher than 101 F)
  • Shaking chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flank pain: pain in the back or side, usually on only one side at about waist level

In newborns, infants, children, and elderly people, the classic symptoms of a urinary tract infection may not be present. Other symptoms may indicate a urinary tract infection.

  • Newborns: fever or hypothermia (low temperature), poor feeding, jaundice
  • Infants: vomiting, diarrhea, fever, poor feeding, not thriving
  • Children: irritability, eating poorly, unexplained fever that doesn't go away, loss of bowel control, loose bowels, change in urination pattern
  • Elderly people: fever or hypothermia, poor appetite, lethargy, change in mental status

Pregnant women are at increased risk for an UTI. Typically, pregnant women do not have unusual or unique symptoms. If a woman is pregnant, her urine should be checked during prenatal visits because an unrecognized infection can cause pregnancy complications or miscarriage.

Although most people have symptoms with a urinary tract infection, some do not.

The symptoms of urinary tract infection can resemble those of sexually transmitted diseases.

Return to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Nancy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I have been suffering from burning urine, abdominal pains and back pain since 1998. I get recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) twice a month on average or more often if my sex partner is in town. I have tried all the remedies and know almost all the antibiotics that treat UTIs. My body cannot take anymore pills, it's like I have been drugging myself.

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Comment from: kaitlyn, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I have had UTI's in the past; it seems that my mom, sister and I are prone to getting them. They're always extremely painful. The last time I had one was after I had sex with my boyfriend, I always urinate after sex and keep myself clean, so I didn't understand why I was having UTI symptoms: frequent and strong urge to urinate, burning upon urination with only a few drops, and the pain would get so bad after urination that I could barely stand, I tried everything from a hot bath to a cool cloth to chugging a whole bottle of cranberry juice! It didn't help; I was stuck in the bathroom for days. I went to the doctor and they tested me for UTI and Bacterial Vaginosis, I was showing no symptoms of BV, no abnormal smell and only a slight discharge but nothing out of the ordinary. Even so, I tested positive for BV and not a UTI. I took the medicine and recovered. More than a year later, after having a new boyfriend for that year, we separated and I had an encounter with the previous boy, the symptoms started again, I took AZO standard pills to ease the pain until my dr's visit, when I got there I tested negative for UTI and positive for BV again. This time they gave me antibiotics for both and it seemed to go away. However, a month later, the symptoms are back. They never fully went away, but I ran out of antibiotics so I figured I was better. But I'm still stuck in the bathroom, this time crying uncontrollably. I still don't know what is wrong with me.

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