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U.T.I. Three letters that can turn any sunny day a little gray. A UTI, also known as a Urinary Tract Infection, is exactly that—an infection of your urinary tract usually caused by bad bacteria.1 UTIs are one of the most common types of infections, accounting for more than 8 million doctor visits each year.2 In fact, if you’re reading this, you may already know the egregious burning urgency that can feel like you’re peeing needles. But why are UTIs so common in women? A UTI is caused by bacteria that have made their way up the urinary tract to the bladder through the urethra; for women this trip is quick, as our urethras are significantly shorter than those of our male counterparts.3 Unfortunately, this makes it easier to develop a UTI.
Whether you’ve been blissfully UTI-free or you’ve had more than you can count, it’s important to know what symptoms to look for. While not typically a cause for alarm, if a UTI is left untreated, it can lead to a number of serious health issues. This is why it’s important to know how to identify the symptoms so you can seek a doctor’s guidance ASAP. Read on for a list of the most common UTI symptoms so you can be ready to take action!
The Urge to Go
So, you’re minding your business, or at least trying to, and the urge to go keeps interrupting your flow. You don’t usually have to pee so much, especially when you haven’t had anything to drink. After trying to avoid another run to the bathroom, you give in and go. Well… you don’t actually go. After you make it all the way to the bathroom and sit down nothing comes out. An inexplicable frustration. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) there is an explanation for this weird urge to go without anything really coming out. You guessed it—it may be a UTI. A strong and annoyingly frustrating urge to urinate again and again and again is a very common symptom of a UTI, ladies!4 If this symptom rears its annoying face, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor ASAP for diagnosis and appropriate urinary tract infection treatment.
(Please Don’t) Let it Burn
That burn when you pee, sometimes excruciating, is a clear sign that something is off. This is both the most common and most hated UTI symptom of them all. Passing urine during a UTI can be painful because the inflammation of your urinary tract causes a burning sensation, making this usually mundane task a real challenge. If you feel the burn, you probably don’t have to be told twice to get to your doctor.
Achy Breaky Abdomen
If you haven’t figured it out by now, UTIs can cause an overwhelming amount of discomfort. Abdominal pain and discomfort is yet another symptom that can completely disrupt your day. The pain is distracting and uncomfortable. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, it is reported that most women will feel abdominal pressure on top of the abdominal pain.5 Many find it difficult to determine whether to attribute their abdominal discomfort to a potential UTI or menstrual cramps. If this discomfort occurs in combination with a burning sensation while peeing and the increased urgency to urinate, it may suggest that you have a UTI. Again, schedule an appointment with your health care professional as soon as possible.
Okay ladies…so now you know the most common UTI symptoms. What do you do with this information? Memorize and retain it! You’ll want be mindful of when your body is showing symptoms of a UTI so you can act quickly. It goes without saying that too much of the wrong bacteria inside your urinary tract is not good so it’s important to report your UTI symptoms to your doctor so they can determine the appropriate course of action which may include prescribing antibiotics for UTI treatment. A UTI left untreated is dangerous, and could manifest into a full-blown kidney infection, which can have drastic effects on your overall health.6
1 Everything You Need to Know About Urinary Tract Infection http://www.healthline.com/health/urinary-tract-infection-adults#what-is-it1
2 Urinary Tract Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/189953.php
3 The Link Between UTIs and Sex https://www.everydayhealth.com/urinary-tract-infections/the-link-between-utis-and-sex.aspx
4 Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/dxc-20344304
5 Abdominal Pain and Urinary Tract Infection http://www.livestrong.com/article/433766-herbal-remedies-that-clean-out-the-urine-system/
6 How do Doctors Diagnose and Treat UTIs? http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-urinary-tract-infections-treatment#1