Health Conditions A-Z Urological Conditions UTI UTI Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore A frequent, urgent need to pee is just one sign of this common bacterial infection. By Joni Sweet Joni Sweet Instagram Twitter Website Joni Sweet is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in travel, health, and wellness. Her work has been published by Health, SELF, Healthline, National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Thrillist, and dozens of other publications. When she’s not traveling the world, she can be found practicing yoga, riding her bike, and looking for the best vegetarian food in the Hudson Valley. health's editorial guidelines Updated on March 13, 2023 Medically reviewed by Sanaz Ghazal, MD Medically reviewed by Sanaz Ghazal, MD Sanaz Ghazal, MD, is a double board-certified fertility specialist and the founder and medical director of the innovative fertility clinic RISE Fertility. At RISE Fertility, Dr. Ghazal emphasizes fertility care for all. learn more Share Tweet Pin Email At first, it can be easy to dismiss UTI symptoms as something else. That constant urge to pee might be from drinking a lot of liquid. But before long, peeing becomes a fiery nightmare. Could that burning sensation be a UTI? A urinary tract infection (UTI) happens when bacteria enter the urethra (where urine leaves the body). The bacteria then infect the urinary tract, usually the bladder, which can cause a burning sensation when you pee, among other symptoms. People who have vaginas are more likely to develop UTIs due to having much shorter urethras. Let's look at the most common UTI symptoms and what causes them. 11 Ways That You Can Get a UTI Getty Images How Long Do UTI Symptoms Last? How long your symptoms last depends on how quickly you receive treatment. Most UTIs are treated with a course of antibiotics. You may be prescribed an antibiotic that will be taken for either three, seven, or 14 days, depending on the severity of the infection and whether you have a vagina or a penis. Your symptoms should improve after finishing the antibiotic—but even with proper treatment, the symptoms can last several days. Some people may not find relief with antibiotic treatment. If your symptoms are ongoing even after you've finished your medication, see a healthcare provider. If you experience frequent UTIs, you may have chronic UTIs and require a stronger or different antibiotic. Common UTI Symptoms UTI symptoms can be a bit different depending on where the infection is. The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection. If you have symptoms, see a healthcare provider right away. Here are the most common symptoms of bladder infections. Persistent and Urgent Need To Pee Feeling like you've got to pee all the time—even right after you use the bathroom—is a classic UTI symptom. You might also feel like you can't wait another moment to get back on the toilet—and when you try to go, not much comes out. You can blame bacteria for this and just about all other UTI symptoms. Bacteria can invade the inside wall of the bladder and cause inflammation and irritation. This irritation can make you feel like you need to pee all the time, even though your bladder doesn't have a lot of urine. Burning Sensation When You Pee Does it feel like you're shooting fire out of your urethra? That burning during urination is a telltale UTI symptom. And if you're wondering where it comes from, you can once again blame bacteria for causing inflammation. The medical term for pain or burning during urination is called dysuria. UTIs affecting the lower urinary tract (bladder infections) and the upper urinary tract (kidney infections) can cause dysuria. However, other conditions can cause dysuria as well. Cloudy Urine Pee that appears cloudy, milky, or smells downright foul can be another sign of infection. However, if this is your only symptom, don't jump straight to the conclusion that you have a UTI. UTIs can make your urine cloudy for a couple of reasons. One explanation is that the bacteria causing the infection releases proteins and enzymes into your urine. Another possibility is that you see the white blood cells your body sent to fight the infection mixing with your urine, hence that milky, almost opaque appearance. Foul-smelling Urine The foul odor in your urine can also be blamed on the bacteria. If you're healthy and drink lots of fluids, your urine shouldn't have a strong smell. If you get a UTI, the bacteria causing it may make your urine smell extra unpleasant. What Your Urine Color Says About Your Health Pinkish or Reddish Urine Your pee can start to look pink or red when you've got a UTI. That pinkish or reddish color is an indication of blood in your urine. Once again, the bacteria are to blame for this symptom. The resulting inflammation allows red blood cells to escape into your urine. Bloody urine isn't a UTI symptom everyone gets, but it tends to be more common in younger women. If it happens to you, see a healthcare provider right away. Blood in your urine is not normal, but it's not usually serious, either. While it can result from a UTI, there can also be other causes. That's why a healthcare provider should check out any pinkish or reddish tint to your urine. Pressure or Pain in Your Pelvis When bacteria invade your bladder, your body fights to evict unwanted guests. But that turns your bladder into a battleground and causes another common UTI symptom: pressure or pain in your pelvis or abdomen. The inflammation that results from the infection can cause pain and pressure in your pelvis. The pain and pressure should subside once the infection starts clearing up and your immune system relaxes. In the meantime, a heating pad or hot water bottle can help you feel a bit better. Symptoms of a Kidney Infection You might notice new UTI symptoms if the infection has spread to your kidneys (pyelonephritis). A kidney infection is nothing to mess around with. It could cause permanent organ damage or sepsis, which can be deadly. If you notice symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection, seek care immediately. In addition to the UTI symptoms mentioned above, symptoms of a UTI that has moved to your kidneys include: FeverChillsPain on your side, back, or groinVomitingNausea 11 Ways That You Can Get a UTI Diagnosing a UTI It's worth noting that UTI symptoms can only tell you if you might have an infection. The only way to know is to get it checked out by a healthcare provider. They can send your urine sample to a lab to check for bacteria and help you get the proper treatment to knock out the infection before it worsens. A Quick Review Urinary tract infections are common. Bladder infections are the most common type, but kidney infections can also occur. The main symptoms are an urgent need to pee and burning with urination. However, you may also notice lower back and abdominal pain, fever, and changes in your urine color or odor. Seek medical care right away if you notice signs of a UTI. Kidney infections can be serious and require immediate treatment. A healthcare provider will likely put you on a course of antibiotics. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. MedlinePlus. Urinary tract infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Urinary tract infection. MedlinePlus. Urinary tract infection - adults. Bono MJ, Leslie SW, Reygaert WC. Urinary tract infection. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Mehta P, Leslie SW, Reddivari AKR. Dysuria. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. MedlinePlus. Urine odor. National Kidney Foundation. Hematuria in adults. Office on Women's Health. Urinary tract infections. MedlinePlus. Blood in urine. Rosen JM, Klumpp DJ. Mechanisms of pain from urinary tract infection. Int J Urol. 2014;21 Suppl 1(0 1):26-32. doi:10.1111/iju.12309 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & causes of kidney infection (pyelonephritis).