According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the only infection that’s treated more frequently than a urinary tract infection (UTI) is pneumonia. More than 8 million doctor visits each year are due to a UTI. Furthermore, about half of all women will experience at least one or more UTIs in their lifetime. Women are much more susceptible to UTIs because our urethra is shorter than men’s, which allows the bacteria like E.coli to travel inside of us much faster.
If you’ve never had a UTI, a congratulations is in order. Anyone who has ever suffered through a UTI wouldn’t even wish it on their worst enemies. However, never having a UTI might mean you aren’t sure what the symptoms are. We’re here to walk you through it, because you do not want to live with a UTI any longer than you absolutely have to.
Here are six signs you have a UTI.
1. It really, really burns when you pee
We’re talking about urine so painful it makes you grimace and curse your bladder in a way that would embarrass your grandmother. It’s not your run-of-the-mill kind of burn. When you have a UTI, your bladder and your urethra become inflamed because of the bacteria, so every time you sit down to urinate it will feel like all hell has broken loose on the lower half of your body.
2. Your urine is dark and cloudy, and it smells weird
If what stares back at you in the toilet bowl is dark yellow, cloudy, or even bloody, that’s not a good sign. Take any strange scents as a sign as well. Blame this on the bacteria yet again. When it crawls up into your bladder it will cause your pee to look and smell devilish. Make an appointment with your doctor and drink plenty of water in the meantime.
3. You feel like you have to pee all the time
A UTI will cause a lot of pressure in your lower abdomen, particularly around your bladder, so it might feel like you have urinate constantly, even though you just left the bathroom. Additionally, when you do finally sit down to pee, there might be nothing that even comes out. These are classic signs of a UTI, so don’t waste any time in seeing a medical provider.
4. There’s pain in your lower back and your pelvic area
When the UTI has reached your bladder, you’ll feel some pressure in your lower abdomen, but once it’s spread to your kidneys you’ll also feel aches and pains in your lower back. Don’t mistake this for common back pain because it could mean that the infection is rapidly growing and it needs to be contained.
5. You feel really tired and shaky
Infections take a toll on the body. Your body has spent its energy trying to get rid of the bacteria, and when it’s losing that battle you’ll feel exhausted from it all. If all you can think about is a big, comfy bed and you’re so tired you’re trembling, call your doctor. This means the UTI has spread to your kidneys.
6. You have a fever
This is a surefire symptom of the UTI spreading to your kidneys. Feeling feverish along with exhaustion and the chills means you need to drop everything and see a doctor, because the infection is getting closer to spreading into your bloodstream.
If at any point you’re experiencing a combination of any of these symptoms, don’t waste any time googling what to do next. Schedule an appointment with your doctor and stock up on sugar-free cranberry juice. It’s meant to help the bacteria from spreading even further.