First of all, sorry if you are currently experiencing any of the symptoms of UTI that I’m going to describe. As a former chronic UTI sufferer, I would freak out every time I start noticing the very first symptoms of UTI and this would definitely ruin my day, and dominate all my thoughts till the issue is resolved. Let me share my experience, as well as some research about UTI symptoms, to set you on the right course of actions.
I will describe the symptoms in their chronological progression as it used to happen to me, but your experience might be different.
It’s important to note that it is harder to diagnose UTI in young children, elderly, people with central nervous system issues, and patients with some chronic diseases. Therefore, this post will only apply to otherwise healthy adult women.
#1 Cloudy urine
The very first symptom that you could notice is cloudy urine. Arguably, not so many people examine their urine after going to the bathroom (but if you had recurrent UTIs you develop all kinds of weird habits). If you noticed that your urine looks like it has some milk in it, it could be a warning sign! Normally, this is the very first symptom that I could notice approximately a day after sex. I remember ignoring this symptom once, right before going to bed. Needless to say, I wasn’t so happy to wake up to a full-blown UTI next morning.
#2 Urine smells funky
If your urine is cloudy, it most likely also smells funny. I would describe the smell similar to how your urine smells after you drank too much coffee. Unfortunately, this is yet another warning sign of a possible UTI that is easy to miss (for obvious reasons) but important to note.
#3 Stinging right after peeing
No doubt, if nothing has been done since the first signs of infection (3-8 hours after noticing cloudy urine) you might start feeling a bit of pain as soon as you are done peeing. This is one of the very first symptoms of UTI that is hard to ignore. By the time you feel slight pain right after peeing, you know that something is off.
#4 Urgency – one of the worst symptoms of UTI
When you feel that you MUST pee, while you have nothing in your bladder, this is “urgency”. Arguably, this is one of the most annoying symptoms of UTI that makes your head spinning in search of a treatment and you can’t think of anything else. I happened to drive to a pharmacy to pick up my antibiotic while experiencing an urgency to urinate, and these were the longest 10 minutes I ever spent in a car.
Unfortunately, soon the slight stinging sensation described above turns into a horrible burning pain that you feel right after urinating. It can be so painful that you feel like crying every time you go to the bathroom. Imagine a burning needle piercing your urethra immediately after you done peeing, and you get the idea. Given that you feel an urgency to pee every five minutes, it quickly becomes unbearable. It feels like your own body wants to torture you. UTIs are super painful and demoralizing!
#6 Blood in urine
If urgency and burning are physically painful and overwhelming, seeing blood and pieces of your own bladder lining in the toilet bowl is simply scary. …Therefore the Oscar for special effects goes to “hematuria” aka “blood in urine”. While dramatic, this symptom only means that your bladder is shedding the lining under the attack of the bacteria. This is also one of the most telling symptoms of UTI.
#7 Lower abdomen pain
Some might never feel it, but for me it was always a guarantee. The pain is normally not too strong, much less than during periods but enough for you to notice. If you press on your lower stomach right above your pubic hair line, you will feel that your bladder is painful to touch. Some girls can also experience cramping or vaginal irritation.
Given that everybody is different your symptoms progression and how you experience them might vary. The best way to know is to do a quick dipstick test to verify your suspicions. You can do this test at your doctor’s office or yourself (buy it in a pharmacy or Amazon). Lastly, if you experience some of these symptoms it could also be a sexually transmitted disease or IC.
What are your symptoms? Leave me a comment if you have ever experienced a different UTI symptom than described above or if the symptoms appear in a different order. I hope you feel better soon!