Because of women's anatomy and the way their bodies work, they are highly prone to developing urinary tract infections, also known as UTIs. In fact, as a woman, you have a 50 percent chance of developing at least one UTI in your lifetime.
Because of this risk, you should get to know some of the common symptoms of a UTI. Knowing the symptoms of a UTI can help you get the treatment and care you need to overcome your infection as quickly as possible.
Pain or Discomfort When Urinating
The most well-known and easily recognizable symptom of a UTI is pain or discomfort when urinating. Oftentimes, this pain manifests itself as a tingling or burning sensation, and such pain indicates there is bacteria in the urethra.
However, it is important to keep in mind that pain or discomfort while urinating is not a surefire sign of a UTI. It can also be a sign of other infections or general irritation. Sometimes, this feeling will resolve itself on its own and will not continue for more than a few trips to the restroom.
Because of this, you do not need to call your doctor the first time you notice such discomfort while urinating. If it continues, though, you will need to seek out medical help to determine whether you have a urinary tract infection or another health issue.
Cloudy or Bloody Urine
Sometimes symptoms are not so much in how urination feels but how it appears that can cause you to suspect you have a UTI. Urine that is cloudy or that contains blood is a sign of infection as well. Additionally, the color of your urine can tell you a lot about your bladder and overall urinary tract health.
If your urine is not a typical shade of yellow or clear and is instead brown or reddish, you likely need to see a medical professional. The only exception is if you ate something unusual throughout the day. If this is the case, your diet may have affected your urine's color. When food is to blame for changes in your urine, the color change will not last long. If it lasts for more than a day, call a doctor.
Abdominal or Pelvic Pain and Cramping
Sometimes you do not have any noticeable urinary symptoms when you have a UTI. Instead, you might notice some discomfort or pain in your abdominal or pelvic region. This pain can feel much like the cramping you would experience when menstruating but can occur at any time of the month.
The biggest problem with the cramping and pelvic pain symptom is that many women attribute it to something else entirely. They may assume it is PMS or nothing at all. Because of this, UTIs can go undiagnosed for prolonged periods of time. This delay can lead to worse UTIs and can even lead to infections elsewhere in the body.
If you have pelvic cramping that does not clear up after 24 hours or so, you want to talk to a physician about the situation. Even if the problem is not a UTI, knowing what is causing your abdominal cramping is important so you do not miss a minor problem that may become something serious.
What You Can Do About a UTI
If you suspect that you have a UTI, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. In the meantime (while you wait for your appointment), you should drink plenty of water. While this may seem counterintuitive, being as hydrated as possible can help to flush the bacteria out of your body and reduce symptoms.
Once you get to your doctor's office, they will be able to prescribe you with an antibiotic medication to treat the infection. If you have a serious UTI, such as one that has spread beyond the bladder and to the kidneys, IV antibiotics may be necessary to give your system the boost it needs to fight the infection.
Now that you know the signs of a UTI and what you can do when you notice them, make sure to contact your doctor at the first sign of trouble.