A urinary tract infection, or UTI, can occur anywhere within the urinary system: in the urethra--the duct leading from the bladder to the exterior--the bladder, the the tubes leading from the bladder to the kidneys and the kidneys. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, UTIs are the second most commonly occurring infection in the body resulting in over 8.3 million doctor visits a year. The most common cause of an infection results from Escherichia coli, commonly called E.coli, bacteria from the colon making its way into the urinary tract. Moreover, women are more prone to UTIs than men because women have a shorter urethra that is also located close to the rectum.
According to the Mayo Clinic, urinary tract infection symptoms can depend on the affected area of the urinary system. However, initial general symptoms may occur with all types of UTIs. These include experiencing frequent strong urges to urinate but passing small amounts of urine, leaving a sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder. Another first sign is burning upon urination, which is a symptom of urethritis, states the Mayo Clinic. The urine can turn cloudy, dark and concentrated and carry a foul-smelling odor. The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse adds that urine may look milky or have a reddish tinge if blood is present.
The Mayo Clinic states that not all people will recognize obvious signs of a UTI, as the infection develops rapidly. Urethritis may lead to cystitis when the infective agent reaches the bladder. Besides the general symptoms, such as frequent and burning urination, other signs can include lower abdominal discomfort or feeling increased pressure in the pelvic area. Pain can also result from bladder spasms. Additionally, according to the NKUDIC, cystitis normally does not cause a fever, while the Mayo Clinic states that a low-grade fever is possible.
Acute Pyelonephritis Symptoms
When a urinary tract infection occurs in the kidneys, a condition called acute pyelonephritis results. Consequences are more serious in this situation and since the infection spreads fast, the symptoms of pyelonephritis may sometimes be the first recognizable signs. High fever along with shaking or chills occur when the kidneys are affected. The fever may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and general malaise. The infection may also cause pain in the upper back and sides of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic, along with all the other general symptoms.