A Doctor's View on Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms
Read the Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
For someone who is experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI) for the first time (or if it has been a while since they have had one), the symptoms can be frightening. On the other hand, some people with a urinary tract infection may not experience any symptoms at all. In general, the most common symptoms of a urinary tract infection involve the process of urination. Read the entire Doctor's View
What are urinary tract infection symptoms and signs?
Lower urinary tract infection (infections of the bladder or urethra)
- Bladder (cystitis, or bladder infection): 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
- Urinary urgency: the sensation of having to urinate urgently
- Cloudy, bad-smelling, or bloody urine
- Lower abdominal pain or pelvic pressure or pain
- Mild fever (less than 101 F), chills, and "just not feeling well" (malaise)
- Urethra (urethritis): Burning with urination
Upper urinary tract infection (pyelonephritis, or kidney infection)
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
- 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 health complications.
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.