Urinary tract infections are caused by microbes such as bacteria overcoming the body’s defenses in the urinary tract. They can affect the kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that run between them.
The symptoms of a UTI can depend on age, gender, the presence of a catheter, and what part of the urinary tract has been infected.
Common symptoms of a UTI include:
- strong and frequent urge to urinate
- cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine
- pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle aches and abdominal pains
- People with catheters may only experience fever as a symptom, making diagnosis more difficult.
- Acute pyelonephritis: Acute pyelonephritis is a sudden and severe kidney infection. If an individual develops this condition they could also experience upper back and side pain, high fever, shaking, chills, fatigue, and mental changes. It is considered an emergency and should be evaluated by a doctor immediately if suspected.
- If a person has a bladder infection, they could also experience low fever, and pressure and cramping in the abdomen and lower back.
- Most UTIs are not serious, but some can lead to serious problems, particularly with upper UTIs.
- Recurrent or long-lasting kidney infections can cause permanent damage, and some sudden kidney infections can be life-threatening, particularly if bacteria enter the bloodstream in a condition known as septicemia.
- They can also increase the risk of women delivering infants that are premature or have a low birth weight.