What Does the Beginning of a UTI Feel Like?

Medically Reviewed on 2/17/2022
UTI symptoms
Learn the symptoms seen in the early stages of a UTI below, which include a burning sensation during urination and pain in the lower abdomen.

Initially, a person with a urinary tract infection (UTI) may or may not have symptoms.

When present, some of the symptoms seen in the early stages of a UTI are as follows:

  • Burning sensation or pain while passing urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate but passes only a little
  • Pain or pressure in the back or lower abdomen
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee
  • Blood in the urine (more common in younger women; notify your doctor or nurse immediately)

Other symptoms that may be associated with a UTI include:

As the bacteria invade more and more organs in the urinary tract, symptoms may vary and are as follows:

Table. UTI symptoms and organs affected
Part of the urinary tract affected Signs and symptoms
Kidneys (acute pyelonephritis)
  • Back pain or flank (side) pain
  • High fever
  • Shaking and chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Foul-smelling urine
Bladder (cystitis)
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Lower abdomen discomfort
  • Frequent, painful urination
  • Blood in urine
Urethra (urethritis)
  • Burning with urination
  • Discharge

How is a UTI treated?

Antibiotics are the first choice for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs).

The physician chooses antibiotics to treat your UTI based on:

  • Effectiveness of the antibiotic toward the infecting bacteria.
  • The severity of the infection.
  • Your age group.
  • Antibiotic resistance pattern.

Some of the antibiotics used to treat UTIs include:

Apart from antibiotics, cranberry juice is known to show improvement in UTIs; however, monitor for the following signs if you are drinking cranberry juice to treat UTIs:

Do not take cranberry juice if you are on blood-thinning medications such as warfarin.

How do you prevent UTIs?

Some ways to prevent UTIs include:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Use urine alkalizers that are available over the counter.
  • Do not hold your urine for a long time.
  • Empty your bladder before and after having sex.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Minimize douching, spray or powder in the genital area to avoid irritation in the urethra.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing (including underpants) and dress children in loose-fitting clothing.
  • Change the birth control method if it promotes bacterial growth in the urethra.
  • Teach girls to wipe from the front to back while potty training.
  • Use appropriate lubrication during sex. Try using a small amount of lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly) before sex if your partner is a little dry.
  • Clean the anus and outer lips of the genitals every day to prevent the transmission of bacteria.


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Medically Reviewed on 2/17/2022
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