Urinary tract infections are no joke. An infection anywhere in the body is a problem, but urinary tract infections are particularly troublesome because they're embarrassing to talk about and can be serious before a symptom shows up. Know your body and the symptoms of a UTI, and then share your concerns with your doctor if you have any of these urinary tract infection symptoms.
What's a urinary tract infection? An infection of this nature can occur to anyone at any time, but is more commonly seen in women. The urinary tract consists of the bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. If bacteria (typically E. coli) infect any part of the urinary tract, an infection may develop. Your body usually handles the bacterial invasion on its own, but occasionally it needs help.
Know the symptoms. In order to stay on the right track with your urinary tract health, understand these basic symptoms. If you suspect you have a urinary tract infection, speak with your doctor right away about treatment options. According to Medline Plus, A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, symptoms of a bladder infection are:
- urgent need to urinate
- frequent urge to urinate
- pressure or cramping in the middle abdomen or back
- pain and burning when urinating
- sometimes a low grade fever
- cloudy urine
- bloody urine
- foul-smelling urine
If these symptoms are present, a kidney infection may be the culprit:
- chills, shaking
- night sweats
- tiredness and general malaise
- back, side or groin pain
- flushed, reddened skin that's warm to the touch.
- nausea or vomiting
- mental confusion (in severe cases)
- severe abdominal pain
Remember: If you even suspect you have a urinary tract infection, see a doctor. Often there are no symptoms of a UTI at all or until it's reached a severe stage that will require antibiotics. This is common in older adults who tend to be asymptomatic.