What is a urine infection and what are the symptoms?
A urine infection is caused by germs (bacteria) which get into your urine. Usually the germs have come from your skin, and travelled up the tubes of the urinary system. The symptoms may depend on how far up your system the germs have travelled. The germs may cause:
- Asymptomatic bacteriuria. In this situation bacteria are found in your urine but are not causing any symptoms. You will only know you have it if your urine is tested.
- Bladder infection (cystitis). This is common, both in pregnant and non-pregnant women. Typical symptoms are pain when you pass urine and passing urine more often. You may also have other symptoms such as pain in your lower tummy (abdomen), blood in your urine, and a high temperature (fever).
- Kidney infection (pyelonephritis). This is uncommon but may occur as a complication from cystitis or asymptomatic bacteriuria. It is usually a more serious infection, making you feel very unwell. Some or all of the possible symptoms may occur, which include:
- Pain in your side (loin) over your kidney.
- Having a high temperature.
- Feeling sick (nausea).
- Being sick (vomiting).
- Blood in your urine.
- Symptoms of cystitis as above.
- Feeling generally unwell.
Can a urine infection affect my pregnancy?
If you have a kidney infection when you are pregnant, you can feel very unwell. If left untreated, it may also cause problems such as early labour and/or a small baby. A kidney infection is uncommon but may develop as a complication from a bladder infection (cystitis) or from a urine infection. There may be no symptoms at first (asymptomatic bacteriuria).
Did you find this information useful?
- Management of suspected bacterial urinary tract infection in adults; Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network - SIGN (updated guidelines 2012)
- Guidelines on Urological Infections; European Association of Urology (2015)
- Urinary tract infection (lower) - women; NICE CKS, July 2015 (UK access only)
- Vazquez JC, Abalos E; Treatments for symptomatic urinary tract infections during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jan 19 (1):CD002256. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002256.pub2.
- Schneeberger C, Geerlings SE, Middleton P, et al; Interventions for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Nov 14 11:CD009279. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009279.pub2.
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