Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms

Treatment & Prevention

Dr. Phil Mitchell
Medically reviewed by Dr. Phil MitchellMarch 29th, 2024
Women having pain from UTI

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body). Anyone who’s experienced symptoms like painful, burning, urgent urination knows how unpleasant this condition can be, and the importance of prompt, effective care.

Most UTIs affect the bladder (you may hear this referred to as a “bladder infection”). Sometimes, particularly if left untreated, the infection moves from the bladder to the kidney creating a more serious kidney infection that can involve fever, back or side pain and vomiting.

It’s critical to address any suspected UTI symptoms promptly and thoroughly to prevent a bladder infection from becoming a more serious kidney infection.

How a UTI is Diagnosed

UTIs are best diagnosed by a healthcare professional. Your healthcare provider may diagnose on the basis of symptoms, or may suggest a urine test to identify exactly what type of bacteria is causing the infection.

Common UTI Symptoms

Depending on the severity of your infection, you may have one or all of these symptoms when you have a UTI.

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • The urge to urinate frequently or suddenly
  • Blood in the urine
  • Fever
  • Back or side pain
  • Vomiting

UTI Treatment and Recovery

If you’re diagnosed with a UTI, be sure to follow these guidelines.

  • Your healthcare provider will likely prescribe an antibiotic. It’s essential to complete all of your prescribed medications, even if you’re feeling better, to prevent the infection from coming back.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water to help flush the infection from your system.
  • Follow up with your primary care provider within 2-3 days of starting antibiotics to make sure you’re on track to recover. If you’re not able to see your doctor in the suggested timeframe, DispatchHealth may recommend you schedule a follow-up visit with us.

Tips to Help Prevent UTIs

There’s a lot you can do to reduce the risk of getting a UTI. First and foremost, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and always use the bathroom promptly when you feel the need to urinate. Keep these additional tips in mind, too.

  • Keep the genital area clean and dry, preferably by taking showers instead of baths.
  • Urinate after sexual activity.
  • For women, wipe from front to back to avoid transferring bacteria to the genital area.
  • For women, talk to your healthcare provider about vaginal estrogen treatment after menopause to keep genital tissue healthy.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Get seen by a healthcare professional right away if you’re experiencing these symptoms with a UTI.

  • A fever above 100.4°F
  • Shaking chills
  • Back or side pain
  • New confusion
  • Condition is getting worse or not improving within 24 hours of starting antibiotics

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