The urinary system and stethoscope on blue-green background

What Are Urinary Tract
Infection (UTI) Symptoms?

By Audrey Cabanel
November 1, 2023

Let’s be honest, UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) are super annoying. But they are quite easy to spot and treat. Whether this is your first UTI or you experience a recurrence, we’ve got all the facts you need to know about UTIs, what are UTI symptoms, and their causes.

What Is the Early Warning of UTI?

You think you have a UTI but are not sure which are the symptoms. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and start to freak out about what illness you may have—we are here to help ease your mind and help get you quick relief.

One of the main symptoms of a UTI is an uncomfortable sensation when peeing, along with the frequent need to pee. Another common symptom can be the strong urge to pee without any pee coming out when you go to relieve yourself. This can be accompanied by pelvic pressure or cramping in your groin or lower abdomen. If you are experiencing these symptoms but are still not sure you have a UTI you can check if you have any of the following, as well:

  • Bloody urine
  • Urine is cloudy and has a bad smell.

If you want to be sure, you can also check our UTI symptoms quiz. Once you fill out the quiz, Wisp will connect you with a Health Care provider and help you get quick access to medication and UTI relief.

What Is the Main Cause of UTI?

The main cause of UTIs is when a bacteria called E. coli (which lives in the bowel), enters the urinary tract causing a bladder infection. Other types of bacteria can cause UTIs, but E. coli is the culprit about 90% of the time. The anatomical structure of a vulva and vagina contributes to their increased likelihood of contracting a UTI. Let’s be clear, having bacteria in and around your vagina and vulva does not always mean there is an active infection. For these parts to function properly, they must have balanced populations of bacteria and microorganisms. The issue lies when the wrong bacteria shows up in the wrong place.

You may be wondering, “How does this bacteria get into the urethra to give me a UTI?”

Sexual activity, for example, can flush bacteria from the anus and vagina to your urethra, especially if you have a vagina. The proximity of your urethral opening to the anus and vagina, means you are more at risk of UTIs. Given the anatomy, it’s much more difficult for bacteria to enter the urethra of a penis-haver. Not fair, but it is what it is!

It’s important to know that the presence of the wrong bacteria in your urethra is what causes UTIs. But here are factors that may cause that bacteria to enter the urethra or even grow once in there:

  • Not drinking enough water and liquids
  • Holding in amounts of urine for a long period
  • Situations that block the flow of urine out of the urethra (like sexual intercourse).
  • Conditions that reduce the body's ability to fight off infection.
  • Hormonal changes in the urinary tract of pregnant women—this makes it easier for bacteria to spread through the ureters to the kidneys.

How Do I Know if I’ve Got a UTI?

As mentioned above, if you are experiencing one or more UTI symptoms, chances are you have a UTI. But if you still feel unsure and want to know 100%, you can get at-home tests in your local pharmacy. These tests analyze urine samples by detecting any bacteria that may be causing a UTI. If you feel like you need the confirmation to have peace of mind, we recommend reaching out to your physician and asking for a UTI urine test. That way you know for sure, and you can treat it as quickly as you got it.

Can a UTI go away on its own?

Yes, a UTI can sometimes resolve on its own, but waiting can be a dangerous game. A UTI can progress quickly into a painful kidney infection that may require an expensive (and scary) trip to the ER.

But don’t worry! There are many ways to get rid of a UTI and get healthy in no time. The main way to treat a UTI is with antibiotics. Once you’ve taken the Symptoms Quiz, what’s stopping you from taking care of yourself and getting rid of that darn UTI?

Alright, so you’ve got a UTI but are wary of using antibiotics to treat it? That’s okay! Let’s talk about preventative remedies that can help prevent those uncomfortable UTI symptoms in the first place. It’s important to note that if the symptoms are severe and you have had them for a long period, we recommend you consult your physician or get antibiotics to avoid it becoming a kidney infection. Some remedies help prevent or soothe UTIs:

  • Using D-Mannose to flush UTI-causing bacteria from your urinary tract.
  • Staying hydrated with plenty of fluids like water or electrolyte drinks low in sugar.
  • Urinating when you need to go and not holding it in.
  • Getting enough vitamin C to support your immune system.
  • Wiping front to back to keep bacteria out of your urethra.
  • Peeing after sex to help flush out the bacteria that may have entered during the act.

What about cranberry juice, you’re thinking? While cranberry juice can help hydrate you, many commercial brands add a lot of sugar into their juices, which can feed bacteria in your urinary tract. If you do want to go the cranberry juice route, choose one without added sugar and drink with plenty of water. Cranberries are thought to be helpful because they contain polyphenols that prevent E. coli bacteria from attaching to cells in the urinary tract.

Probiotics can also help keep the urinary tract healthy and free from harmful bacteria—the Lactobacillus bacterial group is considered helpful bacteria that can crowd out harmful bacteria that may be looking to adhere to the lining of your vagina or bladder. You can find probiotics in:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Certain varieties of cheese.
  • Sauerkraut

UTIs are a pain and we want you to have all the information and medication you need to be able to treat them. There are so many ways to know you have UTI and to treat it. So if you haven’t yet, give Wisp a try. You’ll be feeling better in no time!


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