What are the early signs of a UTI?
By Yoo Junk Kim, MD Oct 13, 2022 • 2 min
For many people, the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) are recognizable. Catching a UTI early and getting treatment can prevent it from progressing into a more serious condition, including infections of the kidneys (pyelonephritis), blood (sepsis) and, if you are male, the prostate (prostatitis). Fortunately, there are common signs of urinary tract infections that you can identify early. Here are some key symptoms to watch out for.
Many people with a UTI have a powerful urge to urinate, even if they don't pass much urine once they reach the toilet. They frequently find themselves going back to the bathroom because of a dull pressure in their lower abdomen that feels similar to the sensation of a full bladder. This symptom occurs because the surface of the bladder becomes irritated during a UTI, which causes discomfort and an urge to urinate more often.
Uncomfortable sensation while urinating
Another common sign of a urinary infection is burning or pain when peeing. Similar to urinary urge, pain while urinating arises when the lining of the bladder and the urethra—the tube from the bladder that carries the urine out of the body—is inflamed.
Cloudy or bloody urine
Changes in urine color and appearance, such as cloudy or dark urine, may be a sign of a UTI. During an infection, white blood cells, the body's defenders, attack the bacteria, leaving debris in the urine. Another sign of a urinary tract infection is pink or dark brown urine, which may reflect the presence of blood or products formed from the breakdown of blood.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should inform your healthcare provider. They can help you distinguish between different conditions that may have similar symptoms, such as a yeast infection or sexually transmitted infections. Your healthcare provider can also analyze a urine sample for signs of blood, white blood cells, bacteria and bacterial byproducts. In addition, they can send a urine culture and see what sort of bacteria or other organisms are present in the urine, which can help identify the cause of the UTI. Your provider can then prescribe the most effective antibiotic for you. Your provider may also recommend other urinary tract infection products.
By keeping track of your symptoms and recognizing the early signs of a UTI, you can seek quick treatment and prevent it from developing into a more dangerous infection.
Published October 2022.