What are the different symptoms of urinary tract infection?

A UTI, also known as a urinary tract infection, occurs when bacteria infect any part of the urinary tract, made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Generally speaking, infections that occur higher in the urinary tract, especially in the kidneys, are more serious than those that occur further down the tract. UTI symptoms vary depending on the part of the tract affected and the age, sex, and general physical condition of the person affected. Symptoms commonly associated with upper or lower urinary tract infections include painful urination, frequent urination, or bloody urine.

Lower urinary tract infections tend to be much less serious than upper urinary tract infections, although the UTI symptoms associated with lower urinary tract infections can be painful and frightening. Painful and frequent urination accompanied by the feeling of not being able to hold urine is indicative of a urinary tract infection. Other symptoms of lower urinary tract infection may include bloody or foul-smelling urine, inability to urinate completely, and low-grade fever. Normal treatment for simple lower urinary tract infections primarily involves oral antibiotics. In more complicated cases, intravenous antibiotics may be given.

Upper urinary tract infections tend to be much more serious than their lower counterparts, as the kidneys are very important for the proper processing of waste in the body. UTI symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection can be the same as those of a lower urinary tract infection, but are usually accompanied by more severe symptoms. Additional symptoms of upper urinary tract infection include relatively high fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the back or side. Such pain usually occurs around the waist level. Another common symptom is extreme fatigue, which can occur even if the individual is healthy and well-rested.

Urinary tract infections are more common in sexually active women, diabetics, and individuals with sickle cell anemia. Babies and children sometimes get such infections, which can present with different UTI symptoms than those experienced by their older counterparts. Along with the symptoms experienced in normal cases, babies may also experience diarrhea and general fatigue. Older people affected by a urinary tract infection often become very lethargic, may experience fever or hypothermia, and may experience altered mental status. In some cases, the symptoms of urinary infection are interpreted as symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases; in other cases, there are no noticeable symptoms at all.

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