UTI Symptoms

Reviewed by Dr Jonah Mink, April 21'

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second most common type of infection in the UK. Women are typically more likely than men to contract a UTI. Statistics show that 50-60% of women in general experience at least one UTI in their lifetime. In many cases, UTIs are more irritating than harmful. However, if left untreated, a UTI can lead to serious complications and it is safest to get tested.

Prompt testing ensures faster treatment for a better outcome. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor your urinary health so that you can spot the early signs of a UTI.

The early signs of a UTI are:

  • Painful urination including a burning sensation

  • Urine with an unpleasant or strange odour 

  • Pelvic discomfort

  • Urgent need to urinate and frequent urination

You should also get tested if you notice any of these other symptoms:

  • An urge to urinate even when your bladder is empty

  • Pain during and immediately after urination

  • Blood in your urine and/or cloudy urine

  • Strong-smelling urine

  • Generally feeling unwell

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Nausea or vomiting  

  • Fever 

If you notice a burning sensation when you pass water or another early sign of a UTI, you can get tested before further symptoms arise. Click here to fill out a simple questionnaire and receive your test kit delivered to your home.

Cloudy urine 

When you are healthy and well-hydrated, your urine should be a clear, pale yellow colour. If you do not drink enough water on a given day, you may notice that you pass cloudy urine caused by dehydration the following day. In this case, the concentrated, cloudy urine should naturally become clearer when you increase your fluid intake.

If you notice that your urine is cloudy and this is not linked to dehydration, you may wonder whether you have a UTI. This can indeed be a sign of a UTI, especially if you experience painful urination as well. Cloudy urine may also be described as milky, frothy or foamy, and is caused by pus being released into the urine by the bladder as it tries to eliminate the bacteria. Some women can experience cloudy urine after sex. This may be the start of a UTI caused by the introduction of bacteria into the urethra and bladder during sex. Drinking plenty of water can help your body fight a UTI naturally, but antibiotics may be required if symptoms persist.

Cloudy urine is not always caused by infection. Cloudy urine in the absence of a UTI could be the result of other medical conditions, or could even be related to some of the foods you eat. 

Pain when urinating

Sometimes, you may find it stings when you pass water. This pain can take the form of a sharp, irritating or burning sensation. There can be many causes for this pain, and if you are wondering how to cure the burning sensation when urinating you are not alone.

To effectively treat the pain, you will need to know what causes the burning sensation when urinating. One of the most common causes of burning or stinging pain is a urinary tract infection. The pain may be felt during urination or shortly afterwards and may also be associated with cloudy urine, lower abdominal pain and the need to urinate more often than usual. You may also notice a fever. If you do not have any of these additional symptoms, the infection could be in the early stages, or the pain may not be caused by an infection. 

Bladder pain can be caused by a number of other conditions, including inflammation of the bladder (interstitial cystitis), bladder stones and even bladder cancer. 

Bladder pain

Bladder discomfort is a common complaint. The causes and symptoms of bladder pain will vary between people, but early diagnosis and treatment may help to alleviate symptoms more quickly. Very often, patients describe their bladder pain location as being within the pelvis or lower abdomen. Occasionally, the pain may radiate into the lower back or into the sides of the abdomen, depending on the cause.

One of the most common causes of bladder discomfort is a UTI. If other classic symptoms are not present, such as pain on urination, cloudy urine or a fever, then another cause may be more likely. As other organs are located in the pelvis, gynaecological or other urological causes should be considered. Cramping pain in the bladder area could actually be caused by a sexually transmitted infection, ovarian cyst, or gynaecological conditions including endometriosis.

Acute bladder pain can be the result of inflammation of the bladder wall, or kidney or bladder stone formation.

Bladder Pain

Constant need to pee

One of the most common symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is the seemingly constant urge to pass water.

What is causing this frequent (and frustrating) need to wee?

The bladder and the brain have a very close relationship, and in normal conditions, it’s natural to pee between six to eight times a day. However, when inflamed, the pressure and the pain in your bladder will - signal - your brain that it needs to be emptied, even if it’s far from full. As a result, you might find yourself rushing to the loo every few minutes only to have a few drops come out each time.

If you have a UTI, this frequent need to urinate is usually because of the inflammation in your bladder. However, this discomfort will go away once the infection has been treated.

Painful urination

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can often cause frequent urination and a burning or stinging sensation when you pass water.

This pain may originate in one of the following places:

  • Your bladder, when the lining becomes inflamed because of bacteria that have entered

  • The urethra, which is the tube that transmits urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body

Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also cause painful urination. The most common of these are chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes.

Therefore, if you’ve recently had sex and you’re experiencing a burning feeling when you pass water, you should get tested for STIs as well as UTIs.

Test at home, get treatment at the pharmacy

Locate a pharmacy