Urinary Tract Infection
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- Pain or stinging when you pass urine
- Frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when you have little urine to pass
- Pressure in your lower belly or back
- Urine that smells bad or looks milky, cloudy, or reddish in color
- Fever or chills.
Not everyone with a urinary tract infection will develop symptoms. Children who have urinary tract infections are more likely to have a fever and no other symptoms, which often results in a misdiagnosis.
(Click Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms for more information about symptoms of a urinary tract infection.)
Making a Diagnosis
In order to diagnose a patient with a urinary tract infection, doctors will perform a physical exam and ask the following questions:
- How much fluid do you drink?
- Do you feel pain or a burning sensation when you urinate?
- Do you have difficulty urinating?
- (For women) What type of birth control do you use?
Other procedures that will help your doctor make a diagnosis include:
- A urine test
- An x-ray or an ultrasound of the patient's kidneys
- An exam that looks into the patient's bladder with an instrument called a cystoscope.
A urine test is needed to check for bacteria and infection-fighting cells. Your doctor may also order a urine culture, which is a test that allows bacteria from the urine to grow in a lab dish. This culture allows doctors to prescribe the correct medicine that is needed for the specific type of bacteria.