Is a Urinary Tract Infection Dangerous?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are always a drag, whether it's your first or you're a pro. You may think it's more of a nuisance than anything else. In fact, it should stand for Unbelievably, Totally Inconvenient. You may stock up on cranberry juice, take some Advil, and be on your merry way. But truth be told, while UTIs are very common and can go away on their own, they can also turn into something else that can be dangerous.

A UTI occurs when bacteria (germs) get into the urinary tract through the urethra and cause an infection. UTIs occur mostly in women (due to our anatomy), but anyone can get it. The tricky part is that they can be quite painful and debilitating for some, or you may have no symptoms at all. It is best to call your doctor at the first signs of your UTI.

Common Symptoms Include: 

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Urine that appears cloudy with a sour odor
  • Urine that appears red — a sign of blood in the urine
  • Pelvic pain and pressure
  • Lower back pain
  • Low-grade fever and chills

Your doctor will often prescribe a round of antibiotics and tell you to drink lots of water to get rid of the infection. But we know some of you don't have time for all that. If you think you have a UTI and mild symptoms, it may just go away. But if you are in pain or have a fever, call your doctor. It's no joke. What you thought was just a simple UTI can turn into something else. Something a lot worse.

Complications of a UTI

If left untreated or if you wait too long, the bacteria in the urethra can travel up to the bladder and then make a pit stop in the kidneys. Bladder and kidney infections can be treated with antibiotics, but if it is severe, they may require a trip to the ER for a course of intravenous antibiotics. When bacteria attack the kidneys, it can cause permanent damage that reduces kidney function. And if you already have kidney problems, a UTI can be the cause of kidney failure. There's also a tiny chance that the infection can enter the bloodstream and spread to other organs. Sorry to scare you, but it's true.

Some people are also at a higher risk for complications of a UTI, including pregnant women, the elderly, men, people with diabetes, kidney problems, or a weakened immune system. Untreated UTIs can contribute to preterm labor, so definitely call your OBGYN if you suspect you have a UTI. 

Your UTI May Be Something Else

You know the drill—frequent trips to the bathroom, burning while peeing, backaches. But the symptoms of a UTI mimic other vaginal health issues, and it may be something else entirely. You may have a yeast infection, Bacterial Vaginosis, or even sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. That is why it really is so important to call your doctor at the first sign of infection so you can get the correct treatment. In the meantime, try preventing UTIs by drinking even more water and taking supplements with D-Mannose and cranberry juice powder to help keep the germs where it doesn't belong. We suggest Checkable Urinary Tract Balance.