7 signs and symptoms of UTI

Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is such a common occurrence that it’s the second most prevalent infection affecting around 8 million people every year. [1]

UTI is “an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.” [23]

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that 40-60% of women will suffer from it at least once in their lifetime. [4]

Because UTI is so common, knowing the signs and symptoms is key. Here are 7 telltale signs that you may be suffering from UTI:


#1 It hurts when you pee.

This is perhaps the most common and well-known symptom of UTI.

When you feel a burning sensation as you pee, or even feel like your urethra is having spasms or cramping like crazy, you’re likely to have UTI.

This is due to the presence of bacteria irritating and inflaming your urethra and/or bladder.


The stinging doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re suffering from a full-blown UTI though. If you only notice this pain once or twice during and immediately after peeing, try drinking lots of water. Hydrating normally gets rid of the pain as water flushes out the bacteria and keeps the infection from going worse.

But if the pain becomes persistent or unbearable, it may be time to go to the doctor and get some medications. The pain may even be a sign of a bigger problem like STI, so it’s worth going to the doctor and getting some urinalysis done.


#2 You feel like peeing multiple times in a short time.

If you’ve ever experienced this, then you’ll know that it’s one of the most frustrating and uncomfortable feelings ever!

Like when you’ve just gone to the toilet and a few seconds after, you feel like peeing again.

You try to wait until the urge stops, but it doesn’t fade. In fact, it feels stronger the longer you sit on it.


So you make another trip, nothing comes out but a few drops, and it just hurts.

That’s classic UTI at its worst. And it’s the telltale sign of bacteria already infecting and inflaming your urethra and bladder lining.

When this happens (and you know you don’t have a hyperactive bladder), it’s high time to go to the doctor and sort this *irritating* thing out.


#3 The color of your urine is… strangely different.

If it’s not the usual light yellow or clear pee, then something may be off.

The color of your pee is a good indication whether you may be suffering from an infection or not. If it’s cloudy, dark yellow, orange, brown or even bloody, then bacteria may have already infected the urethra. A streak of blood means bleeding may already be happening in your urethra.

But don’t panic too soon – check first if you’ve eaten or drunk anything that has a strong color. If you’ve had beets or other food and drinks that are around these colors and you’re not experiencing any stinging or pain, you may be in the safe zone. Check the color the next few times you pee, and when it gets back to clear, then so are you!


#4 Your pee smells weird too!

A strong and pungent smell is another indication that you may be suffering from UTI.

If you’re wondering what this pungent odor smells like, then just imagine your pet cat’s litter box. Also, window cleaners which reek of ammonia.

A 2015 research says that this particular smell may be caused by blockages in the urethra, which leads to a build-up of ammonia levels in your urinary tract. [5]


Note though that sometimes, a strange odor may be also be caused by the food or beverage you just consumed. For instance, coffee, alcohol, curry, asparagus, and even banana may cause a strong, pungent smell for your urine.

If not for the food and drinks you consume, the pungent odor may be a sign of other medical problems like infection.

So if the weird smell doesn’t go away after a couple of pees, it may be a red flag. A stronger sign is the smell goes with the strange color.

A trip to the doctor is in order.


#5 You’re cramping like you have your period... but it’s not that time of the month.

Unlike any other symptoms of UTI, this one you have to have a double look.

There may be many other reasons for experiencing cramping, abdominal pain, and any type of pressure around the area of your urinary tract, like your bladder or pelvis. You may have just gone to the gym, or your monthly period is right around the corner or the typical lower back pain. So this symptom isn’t usually linked to UTI.


If cramping gets more intense or sticks for longer than usual, and you see any other symptoms in this list, then you might as well go see a doctor and check for UTI.

This is especially true for older women suffering from UTI.

Pro tip: if the pain is sharper and concentrated on a certain portion around your hip area or the location of your urinary tract, then it’s likely to be related to UTI.

And look out – if the pain is localized in your lower back and you’re experiencing fever, night sweats, and chills, it’s a sign that the infection may have reached your kidneys, which is a serious complication. Knock on wood it doesn’t get to this point for you. So it’s important to check with the doctor and get the necessary medications to prevent it from happening.


#6 – You feel so tired.

A big sign of inflammation and infection? Extreme fatigue.

When your system spots this, it tells you by releasing white blood cells, leading you to feel tired. If this feeling of grogginess and constant fatigue doesn’t go away, check for other UTI symptoms and call for a doctor’s appointment.


#7 – Your appetite is nowhere to be found.

It’s not as common as other symptoms among women, but still a sign nevertheless.

If the infection has become more severe or has gone up to the kidneys, then you’re likely to experience a loss of appetite or feeling like you’re about to barf.

Nausea and vomiting may still be signs of other problems but if you’ve noticed other symptoms above, then chances are you have UTI.


Prevention is better than cure

If these signs and symptoms sound scary and uncomfortable enough, then you’ll know better than prevent them from happening right?

There are a lot of measures you can do like taking supplements with D-mannose, preventing the occurrence of UTI.

But if it’s too late, here are some ways you can treat UTI.