UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable — they can tamper with your daily routines — but sometimes they can have more severe implications than expected. When a UTI — often an untreated one — spreads from the bladder to the kidneys, it can become severe or even fatal. The bacteria starts to multiply itself in the kidneys and starts to hamper its regular function, and sometimes even irreversibly so. In case no action is taken, it may lead to the infection spreading to the bloodstream and harming other organs, or kidney failure.
It is important to look out for warning signs and implicit symptoms of an underlying UTI, so it can be treated before it goes out of hand. Pregnant and menopausal women, elderly people, diabetes patients, and people with weak immune systems are more prone to chronic UTIs. People with a history of UTIs and kidney stones are also more susceptible to catching kidney infections. In females, diaphragm usage as a birth control method can also foster bacteria growth in the urinary tract.
So when should you see a doctor? Rule of thumb — whenever you feel any signs of a UTI. The symptoms may include:
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Pain in lower abdomen
- Cloudy urine
- An urge to urinate unusually frequently
A UTI starts getting serious when those symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Pain in the lower back
Maintaining good hygiene, drinking fluids regularly, using the toilet before and after intercourse, and not holding your urine for too long are some basic ways to avoid UTIs. But in case such practices cease to work, visit the doctor immediately!