Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are no joke. If you have one and do nothing to treat it, it can lead to sepsis, where the condition goes to your kidneys and spreads around the body. But how will you know you have a UTI if you’ve never had one? Before you make an expensive trip to the doctor, knowing the signs of urinary tract infection can help you determine if further action is necessary.
The likelihood of sepsis will only grow as you age, making learning the signs of urinary tract infection essential. Not only will they save you a lot of pain, but they might just save your life.
1. Discomfort While Peeing
Perhaps the most significant indicator of a UTI is how you feel while urinating. As you likely know, urinating doesn’t have much of a sensation beyond relief, but UTIs are much different. “Discomfort” is a bit of a clinical term — a urinary tract infection is often painful, accompanied by a burning sensation. You also won’t feel like you’ve completely emptied your bladder and need to pee frequently while only passing a small amount of urine at a time.
2. A Change in Your Urine’s Look
Another of the telling signs of urinary tract infection is the appearance of your urine. While it may be dark if you haven’t been drinking enough water, UTIs will give it a cloudy appearance. However, there could also be some blood in your pee, so take note if it looks brown, red or pink. Blood might also appear when you wipe.
3. A New, Strong Smell
UTIs will also come with a powerful scent — it’s hard to describe, but you’ll notice it if you smell it. Urine typically doesn't have an odor, but a urinary tract infection can cause it to smell a bit like ammonia. If you suspect you have a UTI and notice a new, strong smell when you be, you’re likely correct.
4. Bodily Symptoms
When you have an infection, it can affect the rest of your body. A UTI can lead to chills or shudders, nausea or vomiting if you leave them alone for long enough. These could be signs you’re going septic, along with increased pain, temperature changes, confusion or excessive exhaustion.
Home Remedies for UTI Relief
If you start noticing the signs of urinary tract infection, try a few home remedies to relieve your discomfort before visiting a doctor. Here are a few tips to try resolving a UTI.
Most people you know have likely touted cranberry juice as a cure-all for urinary tract infections. However, the beverage doesn’t really have the amount of proanthocyanidin necessary to eliminate the bacteria. Instead, try pure, unsweetened cranberry juice — despite how tart it is — or cranberry supplements.
One thing you should absolutely drink with a UTI is water — and a lot of it, even if you’re not thirsty. Urinary tract infections will cause you to feel like you have to pee a lot, so the more water you drink, the more opportunities you have to flush out the bacteria. Additionally, you can bathe in hot water or use a warm water bottle to ease any pain.
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria your body uses to keep itself healthy. While studies have discovered different findings on if they can effectively prevent UTIs, they seem to help lower the chances of recurring infections. You can either take probiotics daily or buy the ones designed specifically for urinary health.
Learn the Signs of Urinary Tract Infection
Knowing how to identify a UTI is as crucial as knowing how to treat it. Be wary of relying on home remedies exclusively, as the risk of leaving an infection untreated can be deadly. If your urinary tract infection starts to cause worse symptoms, visit a doctor to receive antibiotics.