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Symptoms of urinary tract infection

Symptoms of urinary tract infection also called Uti, such as pain or burning while urinating, may vary from person to person as the infection can affect the urethra, bladder, or kidneys.

If you think you may have a urinary tract infection, select from the symptoms below the ones you are experiencing to see if you are at risk of having an infection:

  1. 1. Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  2. 2. Frequent and sudden urge to urinate in small quantities
  3. 3. Feeling of not being able to empty the bladder
  4. 4. Heavy sensation or discomfort in the bladder area
  5. 5. Cloudy urine or with the presence of blood
  6. 6. Persistent low fever (between 37.5º and 38º)
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Generally, urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria from the gut that enter the urinary system and is therefore more frequent in women because of the proximity of the anus to the urethra.

Treatment for urinary tract infection should be guided by an urologist and usually includes taking antibiotics, such as Ceftriaxone, because when it is not properly treated, it can spread throughout the body, putting life at risk.

1. Urethritis: infection in the urethra

Urethritis arises when bacteria infests the urethra, causing inflammation and symptoms such as:

  • Frequent urge to urinate;
  • Difficulty starting urination;
  • Pain or burning sensation while you urinate;
  • Yellowish discharge in the urethra.

In these cases it is recommended you see an urologist to start treatment with antibiotics, in order to eliminate the bacteria from the urethra. However, you should also keep the intimate region clean and dry as well as increase your water intake.

See a home remedy that can help eliminate the symptoms faster.

Symptoms of urinary tract infection

2. Cystitis: bladder infection

Bladder infection is the most common form of urinary tract infection and occurs when a bacteria passes through the urethra and reaches the bladder, causing:

  • Urgent urge to urinate, but in a small amounts;
  • Burning sensation when urinating;
  • Presence of blood in the urine;
  • Blurred urine with intense and unpleasant smell;
  • Abdominal pain or a heavy feeling in the belly;
  • Low fever of 37.5 to 38 ° C.

It is recommended you see an urologist as soon as one or more of these symptoms appear to initiate appropriate antibiotic treatment to prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys.

In case of back pain, fever above 38 ° C or vomiting, you should go immediately to an emergency room.

3. Pyelonephritis: Kidney infection

Most urinary tract infections affect only the urethra or bladder, but in more severe cases, the bacteria can reach the kidneys and cause a more serious infection, leading to:

  • Fever above 38.5 ° C;
  • Severe pain in the belly, back or groin;
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating;
  • Blurred urine;
  • Presence of pus or blood in the urine;
  • Frequent urge to urinate.

In addition, chills, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue may also occur. In the elderly, this type of infection usually causes confusion even before the other symptoms appear.

If you suspect you have pyelonephritis, it is important to go to the hospital immediately to identify the problem and initiate antibiotic treatment directly into the vein.

Symptoms of urinary tract infection in babies

Identifying the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in a baby can be difficult as babies and children can not explain what they are feeling. However, in these cases the most common signs are:

Fever above 37.5 ° C for no apparent reason;

  • Crying when urinating;
  • Urine with intense odor;
  • Presence of blood in the diaper;
  • Constant irritability;
  • Decreased appetite.

Whenever these symptoms appear, it is important to consult your pediatrician to assess the possibility that the baby is developing a urinary tract infection.

Symptoms of Uti in pregnancy

The symptoms of urinary tract infection in pregnancy are the same as when you are not pregnant. But during gestation, the infection is more common, due to the low immune system and the increase of proteins in the urine that cause greater growth and development of bacteria.

Treatment for urinary tract infection during pregnancy can be done with the ingestion of antibiotics that do not affect pregnancy and which include Cefaclor, Cefadroxil and Cephalotin.

How is diagnosis reached 

The diagnosis is made by testing for urinary tract infection or doing a urinalysis. Tests such as routine urine, urine culture, and antibiogram can be performed to find out which bacteria are involved and in deciding the best antibiotic.

Other imaging tests, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging may be ordered in case of pyelonephritis to identify possible complications caused by urinary tract infection. These complications can happen when treatment is not started as soon as the symptoms appear, and in case of people with weakened immune systems, although this situation is rarer.

What can cause UTI

A Urinary tract infection develops mainly because bacteria enter into the urinary system, among the most common are: Escherichia coli (about 70% of cases), Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Proteus and Klebsiella species and Enterococcus faecalis. These bacteria can enter the urethra causing symptoms such as pain in the abdomen, burning and urgency to urinate, and when they continue to rise, reaching the bladder and kidneys, symptoms such as fever or chills appear, as well as drops of blood in the urine.

Is UTI contagious? 

Urinary tract infection is not a disease easily transmitted, and although the person's urethra has bacteria these may not proliferate to your partner. However, it depends on your partner's immune system. Healthy people have a much lower chance of being contaminated during intercourse, but the chances increase when they have a weakened immune system.

Treatment for UTI

The treatment is done with the use of antibiotics indicated by the doctor, being the most indicated form of treatment. The treatment lasts 7-10 days and it is important to take the medicine during the whole period indicated by the doctor, even if the symptoms disappear before that. It is also important to drink more water because the more urine the body produces, the more easily the bacteria are eliminated through the urine. Find out the names of some of the medicines for UTI

How to avoid UTI

To prevent urinary tract infections it is recommended you:

  • Wash the external genital region with soap and water after intercourse;
  • After urinating and defecating, always clean the intimate region from front to back, in order to avoid E. coli bacteria in the vagina, since it is present in the anal and peri anal region, being the main cause of urinary infection;
  • Completely emptying the bladder every time you urinate to avoid residual urine which increases the chances of urinary tract infections;
  • Drink more water by ingesting at least 1.5 L of clear liquids a day;
  • Maintain a high fiber diet to decrease the time the stools stay inside the intestine, which decreases the amount of bacteria inside it;
  • Do not use scented perfume or cream in the vaginal region as this can irritate the skin and increase the risk of urinary tract infection;
  • Keep the vulva region always dry by avoiding wearing tight clothing and absorbents everyday in order to decrease perspiration in the area.

These recommendations should be followed daily, especially during pregnancy, when there is a greater risk of urinary tract infections due to hormonal changes and increased weight on the bladder, which favors the proliferation of bacteria.


  • RORIZ-FILHO, Jarbas S. et al. Infecção do trato urinário. Revista da Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto. 118-125, 2010
  • FIORAVANTE, Flávia. Tecnologia educacional para a prevenção da infecção urinária na gravidez: estudo descritivo. Tese de Mestrado, 2015. Universidade Federal Fluminense.
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