Urinary Tract Infection, or UTI, is a common medical issue experienced by millions of people every year. It is caused by bacteria, usually E.Coli, infecting the urinary tract though it is, on occasion, also caused by certain species of fungus.
Ninety five percent of urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria growing and multiplying around the opening of the urinary tract but on rare occasion it can travel there directly from the blood stream. The most common form of UTI is cystitis, which occurs when the bladder becomes infected. A rarer and much more serious version is pyelonephritis, which is an infection of the kidneys and/or ureters. Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms range from the obvious to the subtle. Identifying them early is the key to getting more effective treatment.
Women are much more at risk for UTI than men, most likely because their urinary tract is shorter than it is in men and therefore bacteria have an easier time traveling to and infecting the tract.
Women who are highly sexually active are more at risk than those who are not. Spermicides and lubricants are also risk factors, as they can transfer E.Coli if not used safely. Women who have reached menopause are also at greater risk due the decrease in estrogen in the urinary tract lining. Pregnant women, while not more susceptible to the illness itself, are in greater danger of symptoms which may harm the baby or mother. Due to the extra risk to them, all women have a colony of beneficial bacteria in their vagina that create a hostile environment to other bacteria, although this line of defense is not fool-proof.
Although women are the most susceptible to urinary tract infection, men and children also contract it regularly. Around twenty percent of all urinary tract infections happen in men. Although not as much at risk, men have a higher chance than women of developing more serious problems and complications as a result of infection. Children account for three percent of UTI cases. Urinary tract infection symptoms are often mistaken for symptoms of other conditions in the elderly.
There are two major sets of urinary tract infection symptoms. The first set are urinary tract infection symptoms that are exclusive to or most likely to be UTI. The second set are symptoms commonly found in a wide range of illnesses.
1. A Strong or Persistent Urge To Urinate
People suffering from UTI often need to use the bathroom frequently. These urges to urinate can hit during the waking hours or while the patient is asleep.
2. Pain While Urinating
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms often causes people suffering from it to experience pain while urinating, varying from extreme, unbearable pain to mild discomfort. Note that a burning sensation while urinating can be a sign that the infection has spread to the urethra.
3. Passing Small Amounts of Urine
While urinating, people with UTI may notice that they tend to pass smaller amounts of urine than they usually do. This symptom can persist even when the patient has a strong need to urinate or if they are urinating frequently.
4. Pelvic Pain (Women)
Women who suffer from urinary tract infection symptoms sometimes experience pelvic pain, ranging from strong to mild. Both men and women may experience pressure in the pelvic region.
5. Urine Is Pink, Reddish or Dark
A common urinary tract infection symptom is the presence of dark colored, pink or reddish urine. This is a sign that blood is being shed through the urine and while it is not necessarily cause for alarm, it can be an indicator that the infection is more serious than your average UTI.
6. Pain on Your Back Under The Ribs
This is a rarer urinary tract infection symptom but it is very serious as it is a sign of kidney pain. An infection that has spread to the kidneys is much more serious than the normal bladder infection and may require hospitalization.
7. Rectal Pain (Men)
Men with urinary tract infection symptoms sometimes feel rectal pain, again in varying degrees.
8. Urine Is Cloudy
Healthy urine should be clear, so cloudy urine is an indicator that a urinary tract infection may be about to start or is already underway.
9. Urine Smells Bad
Urine generally never has a very pleasant smell but urine affected by UTI may smell much stronger or much worse than urine usually does. Some have reported a strong asparagus smell while afflicted with UTI.
10. Loss of Control over Bladder
Some people experience a loss of control over their bladders while suffering from UTI and many more find that they dribble constantly, even when not urinating.
1. Fever and/or Chills
Nearly all types of infections are capable of causing fever or chills in the people suffering from them and UTI is no exception. This is known as one of the common urinary tract infection symptoms.
2. Vaginal or Penile Discharge
Many people with UTI experience a discharge from their vagina or penis. This discharge is not urine and tends to be fluid or pus generated as a product of the body fighting off infection.
3. Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is very common among urinary tract infection symptoms (as well as most other illnesses) and vomiting may occur. Some people report that anti-nausea medication is less effective when the nausea is caused by UTI.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms can cause bloating and is often mistaken by women as a sign of early or late menstruation.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, a doctor can diagnose you with a urine sample. Most UTI cases only require less than a week of treatment with antibiotics though more serious cases may require multiple weeks of treatment. To decrease your risk of contracting Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms, do not use condoms that have previously been inserted into the anus earlier in a sexual encounter. Cranberry juice has been shown to be effective at preventing UTI though it is not clear why. Studies show cranberry juice is more effective than cranberry tablets. Remember, identifying urinary tract infection symptoms early is instrumental to preventing more serious infections.