Symptoms and Complications of UTI

Large number of patients with UTI, do not have any symptom. When a person with UTI presents to a doctor, he/she may come with following symptoms:

  • Burning sensation or burning type of pain during urination
  • Increased frequency of urination, and the urge for urination may be strong and persistent, although the amount of urine passed is small
  • Physical appearance of urine is not normal, it may be cloudy
  • If blood is present in urine, the color may be reddish, pink or cola colored
  • Frequent and mild fever with no apparent reason, especially after exertion
  • Pain in pelvis (for women) or in rectum (usually for males)
  • Strong smelling urine

UTI may affect different part of the urinary tract, alone or in combination (for example, urethra and bladder are usually affected together). Depending on the part of urinary tract involved in infection, UTI may be urethritis (infection and inflammation of urethra), cystitis (infection and inflammation of urinary bladder) and pyelonephritis (infection and inflammation of kidneys). Patients with different types of UTIs (depending on the part of urinary system involvement) may produce different type of symptoms. Most common are urethritis and cystitis.

Common symptoms of various types of UTIs are:

  • Urethritis symptoms: burning during urination is usually the only symptoms. Sometimes fever may accompany urethritis.
  • Cystitis symptoms: symptoms include pain during urination and increased frequency of urination. Lower abdominal discomfort, felling of pressure in pelvic area, or there may be blood in urine which makes urine red, cola colored or pink. Mild fever may occur in many patients with cystitis.
  • Acute pyelonephritis symptoms: most important symptom of acute pyelonephritis is high fever with chills and rigors (only few diseases have symptom of high fever with chills and rigors, such as malaria, cholesystitis or infection of gall bladder and acute pyelonephritis, hence these symptoms are indicative of any of these three diseases, because rarely other diseases may produce high fever with chills and rigors, such as typhoid fever). Pain in upper back and body flanks are also seen. Nausea and vomiting may occur in few patients with acute pyelonephritis.

Complications of UTI:

  • Recurrent UTI is the most common complication, especially if there is incomplete treatment and if there is focal cause of UTI, which was not looked into.
  • Permanent damage to kidney may result if acute pyelonephritis is not treated adequately or if left untreated. The risk of kidney damage is higher among children.
  • UTI is common in women during pregnancy, which may lead to low birth weight babies. During pregnancy treatment cannot be done with appropriate antibiotics and need to be managed symptomatically and with adequate water intake.

Do not ignore UTI. If you have any of the symptoms of UTIs, consult your doctor and get tested and treated optimally to prevent complications of UTI.

 

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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