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Do You Have Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms?

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Updated August 25, 2014

Man sitting on bed with backache and headache
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Do you ever worry that you might have urinary tract infection symptoms? Sometimes you have a dull feeling in your abdomen or feel bloated, like you cannot urinate. Or you find it irritating and your tissue feels like it is burning whenever you try to urinate. Urinary tract infections are common, but only diagnostic tests performed at a doctor’s office will be able to confirm your diagnosis and provide information on exactly what medicine is effective in treatment of urinary infection symptoms..

In general, there are two types of urinary tract infection:

  • A Lower Urinary Tract Infection, which involves inflammation or irritation of the urethra and bladder.
  • An Upper Urinary Tract Infection involves the kidneys and ureters. It is also known as pyelonephritis. Because the kidneys' main function is to filter out water and waste products from your blood to make urine, an infection in the kidneys is serious.

Symptoms of a Lower Urinary Tract Infection

  • Becoming symptomatic without warning. Out of the blue, all of a sudden you don’t feel right. You feel subtle discomfort in your abdomen and urinating becomes a problem.
  • Pain or burning during urination. You might notice that you can’t urinate because there is so much burning or irritation in the bladder.
  • Increased frequency of urination or need to get up at night to urinate.This is a condition that doctors refer to as nocturia. You seem to be going to the bathroom all the time or get up several times an hour and have to get up.
  • You are unable to hold your urine. Do you find yourself far away from a bathroom and suddenly you feel like your bladder burst and you cannot hold back your urine?
  • Difficulty urinating or not being able to fully empty your bladder. You simply are unable to urinate much when you try to go.
  • Foul-smelling urine. Check your toilet paper for any unusually strong stench.
  • Cloudy urine. You might notice murky urine in the toilet.
  • Bloody urine. Blood is sometimes visible in the toilet or on toilet paper.
  • Pain in the lower abdomen. With difficulty urinating and holding urine back because of infection, you can develop pain.
  • Low-grade fever (lower than 101 degrees)
  • Tiredness

Symptoms of an Upper Urinary Tract Infection

  • A high fever. Have you had a fever greater than 102 degrees?
  • Shaking chills. Do you find yourself trembling and feeling hot and cold?
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in your back or side, usually on one side near your waist
  • Palpable, enlarged kidney is sometimes present. You probably won’t be able to find this, but your doctor most certainly will, when you are examined.

An upper urinary tract infection is far more serious than one in the lower urinary tract. Bacteria can enter your bloodstream, making your entire body weak. Lower urinary tract symptoms may or may not be present.

The only way to determine if you are you have a urinary tract infection is to be evaluated by a physician, who will perform diagnostic tests and determine appropriate treatment that combats specific pathogens that may be detected.

Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly

For elderly relatives, keep in mind that elderly women commonly get urinary tract infections. You should be aware that unlike younger adults, elderly people tend not to have the typical symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset of delirium or dementia-like symptoms. Think carefully about whether the elderly person suddenly seemed delirious or whether there was a continuous slide in cognitive and mental function. A physician will have to evaluate the person for a urinary tract infection.
  • Sepsis or a bloodstream infection. Does your relative have fever, chills, and generally feels wiped out? Is her blood pressure lower than usual?

Urinary Tract Infections in Newborns

A urinary tract infection in a newborn more frequently arises in the bloodstream and it is considered a medical emergency. If you suspect one, bring your newborn to the emergency room.

Symptoms are nonspecific, but often include:

  • Failure to gain weight on schedule. If your newborn can’t seem to thrive, this is a warning sign that something is not right. Keep an eye out.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Poor skin color (blue or yellow color)
  • Excessive fatigue, limpness
  • Jaundice or yellow color
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

If your newborn has these symptoms, consult with your pediatrician promptly.

Urinary Tract Infections in Children

Symptoms include:

  • Fevers greater than 102.2 degrees are more likely to be associated with upper tract kidney infections, whereas low-grade fevers are more common when bladder infections are present.
  • General malaise.
  • Looking sick. You are probably the best judge of when your child doesn’t look right.
  • Irritability. Children may be hesitant and fussy when they try to urinate.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms can range from a vague stomachache to full-blown abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or a poor appetite.
  • Weight loss. This can occur when a child vomits and has excessive diarrhea.
  • Difficulty sleeping

You cannot diagnose or treat these symptoms yourself. Fortunately, diagnostic tests are available that can confirm the diagnosis and point to the most effective treatments. Bring these symptoms to the attention of your doctor quickly.

Sources:

Urinary tract infections in adults. National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Downloaded July 2, 2009.

Urinary tract infections in children. National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Downloaded on July 2, 2009.

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