7 Symptoms of a Urinary Infection Everyone Should Know

Yes, UTI symptoms can be obvious. But please pay attention to these.

The deal with getting a urinary tract infections (UTI)

Anyone who’s suffered through a urinary tract infection (UTI) will tell you that they’ll do anything to never experience one again. A UTI occurs when bacteria gets into your urine, travels up the urethra, and then into your bladder. According to the Urology Care Foundation, about 60 percent of women and 12 percent of men will develop at least one urinary infection in their lifetime. Proper hygiene, such as wiping front to back after bowel movements, peeing right after sεχ, washing foreskin regularly, and avoiding douches, are a few ways to prevent UTIs from occurring. Unfortunately, a woman’s anatomy makes her more prone to getting UTIs because her urethra is shorter, meaning bacteria has less of a distance to travel before getting to the bladder. In addition, because the opening of the urethra is in front of the vagina, bacteria near the vagina can get into the urethra from contact with the penis, fingers, or devices during sεχ. Read on to learn about the symptoms of a urinary infection so you can head to your physician for treatment as soon as you spot them.

Urinating is accompanied by a sharp pain or burning sensation

An uncomfortable burning sensation upon urination is one of the symptoms of a urinary infection. Pain with urination, called dysuria, can be felt in the urethra or perineum, which is the area surrounding your genitals. “Oftentimes, the burning is from the acidic urine irritating the lining of the bladder and urethra,” says Lisa Hawes, MD, a urologist with Chesapeake Urology Associates in Fulton, MD and a spokesperson for the Urology Care Foundation. “The bacteria damages the lining of the bladder and urethra and then the acidic urine acts like alcohol over a cut, causing the burn.”

You need to pee—AGAIN

If you find yourself going to the bathroom all day long, track just how often nature is calling for you. UTIs can cause urinary frequency, which is also known as hyperactive, irritable, or overactive bladder, according to the Urology Care Foundation. Going to the bathroom more than eight times in 24 hours, including a couple times overnight, could be one of the symptoms of a urinary infection.

You gotta go—now!

You’ll also find that accidents and leaks are more likely to happen if you’ve developed a UTI, says Stephanie J. Kielb, MD, an associate professor of urology, medical education, and obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. Ordinarily, we’re able to contain our urine long enough to get to a bathroom, but if there’s an infection, the urge can be uncontrollable because the muscle surrounding the bladder starts contracting before the bladder is full, signaling that it is “time to go,” she says.

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