What are the Early Symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Infection?

Even though you may never have suffered from a lower urinary tract infection, you will most likely recognize the symptoms if they happen again. That said, it is still important to realize that doctors make a distinct difference between UTIs that affect the urethra and bladder, and those that affect the kidneys.  Since bladder infections can easily travel to the kidneys and do serious harm, you may find that doctors will want to conduct some extra studies in order to learn more about why the infection keeps coming back.

Lower uti

Soap and water – best solutions for preventing lower uti

Basic Symptoms

Most people that have a lower urinary tract infection experience burning and pain while they urinate.  Some may also notice redness or soreness around the urethra.  Interestingly enough, the need to urinate more often may also occur before these symptoms set in. If you notice that you are not excreting as much during each visit to the bathroom, it may be a good indicator that an infection is present in the bladder. Some people may also notice abdominal pain as a feeling of pressure or fullness in the bladder even after urination.

Risk Factors

According to the National Institute of Health, there are several health issues that can increase your risk of developing a UTI that settles in the bladder or urethra.  These conditions include pregnancy, diabetes, kidney stones, and intestinal incontinence.  If you tend to sit too much, get too little exercise, or have a previous history of catheter placement or urinary tract surgery, you may also find that one instance of infection can easily become a recurring problem.

It is very important to note that UTIs can also indicate an increased risk for developing bladder cancer.  A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reveals that patients with bladder cancer were twice as likely to have 3 or more UTIs during their lifetime than those who had fewer or no UTIs.  This is very important to consider if you are concerned about the long term impact of UTIs on your health.  Unfortunately, at this time it is not clear whether tumor risk is associated with alterations in cells caused by exposure to bacteria, or medications used to treat the infection.

While urinary tract infections can be treated by antibiotics, that does not mean you should remain oblivious to their symptoms, or long term implications.  For example, many people believe that a bladder infection is relatively harmless if it does not reach the kidneys. On the other hand, once people learn that a lower urinary tract infection can point to a long term risk of bladder cancer, it gives each person in this situation a better chance to request appropriate screening.

Photo by Horia Varlan