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While it is possible to have a urinary tract infection (UTI) without any symptoms, most people notice symptoms.

The Female Urinary System

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include the following:

  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Feeling of urgency to urinate
  • Burning or pain while urinating
  • Itching in the genital area
  • Urinating only small amounts of urine at a time
  • Pain over the area of the bladder (the pubic area or lower abdomen) or in the lower back
  • Pain along the sides under the ribs (back and flank pain)
  • Blood in the urine, or on the tissue after wiping following urination in women
  • Cloudy looking urine, possibly with pus
  • Unpleasant smell to urine
  • New onset of incontinence (inability to hold the urine during the day or night)

The following symptoms suggest that the infection has gone up into the kidneys, a more serious problem:

  • Fever, chills
  • Severe pain in the lower back

Children (babies in particular) may have less common symptoms of UTI, such as:

Older people may have more vague symptoms of a UTI, such as fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite, or trouble walking.

References:

American Foundation for Urologic Disease. Urinary tract infections in adults. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/. Accessed July 31, 2010.

Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 2001 ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Urinary tract infections in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/. Published December 2005. Accessed July 31, 2010.

Last reviewed September 2013 by Adrienne Carmack, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.