Urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause symptoms of pain and inflammation in the affected area of the urinary system. The infection occurs most commonly in the bladder but can also affect the urethra, ureters, and kidneys. People of any age or gender can get a UTI, but they’re significantly more common in women than in men.
Symptoms of a UTI
If you have a UTI, you might experience one or several of these symptoms:
- Pain or burning when you pee.
- A frequent and strong urge to urinate but not much comes out.
- Lower abdominal pressure.
- Urine that smells bad.
- Cloudy urine.
- Bloody urine, which occurs primarily in younger women and is a serious sign that requires a call to your medical provider.
- Shaking or weakness, which occurs most commonly in older women.
- Lower back or side pain.
The last two symptoms can mean the infection has spread to the kidneys. Fortunately, UTIs are easily treatable with antibiotics and signs go away within a couple of days after starting treatment.
What to Do If You Have a UTI
If you think you have a UTI based on the symptoms listed above, schedule an appointment with your health care provider. You’ll need to take a urine test to detect the bacteria that can cause UTIs. If your test results come back positive, you can take a three- to seven-day course of antibiotics, depending on how severe the infection is, to clear it up. Even if symptoms disappear within a day or two, make sure you take the full dose of antibiotics to fully treat the infection.
Most UTIs, even those that affect the kidneys, don’t cause lasting or serious effects if you identify the symptoms right away and treat the infection properly.