Symptoms Of UTIs You Shouldn't Ignore

One of the most common bacterial infections that doctors see every year is the urinary tract infection, or UTI. While women are more likely to experience a UTI over the course of their lifetime, men can get them, too. UTIs can not only be painful, but they can be dangerous as well. That's why it's important to pay attention to signs that you may have one.

When bacteria from another part of the body like the rectum get into the urethra, they can cause infections that can travel to the kidneys, ureters, and bladder (via Mayo Clinic). E. coli and other bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract are commonly to blame for UTIs. Because their urethras are shorter, women not only have a greater chance of getting a UTI than men, but they actually have a 50% chance of getting one (via Medical News Today). Most UTIs occur in the bladder, but can quickly travel to the kidneys if left untreated. From there, permanent kidney damage can occur, or sepsis may develop and become life-threatening.

Take these preventative steps

While complications from UTIs can be very serious, preventative steps and quick recognition of the symptoms can keep an infection from becoming dangerous. Symptoms of a UTI can vary from person to person, depending on several factors. Common signs to watch out for are a frequent and/or strong urge to urinate, pain or burning while urinating, bloody or cloudy urine, and pressure in your lower abdomen or groin (via CDC). If these are ignored and the infection moves to the kidneys, symptoms could include fever, nausea or vomiting, back pain, and chills.

To help prevent UTIs from happening in the first place, it's important to stay hydrated, and drink water in particular. This can help flush bacteria from your urethra before it becomes a problem (via Mayo Clinic). For women, it's especially important to always wipe from front to back so bacteria isn't introduced into your urethra. Avoiding using generally-unnecessary products like douches and feminine sprays and powders around your genitals can help keep unwanted bacteria out as well (via CDC). And urinating after intercourse can decrease the likelihood of bacteria from your partner or even your own body giving you a UTI. Knowing the signs and symptoms of UTIs can help you avoid painful infection and repeated trips to the doctor's office for treatment.