It's very important that treatment is sought at the first sign of a urinary tract infection because, if left untreated, serious damage can occur in the kidneys. Adults who develop a urinary tract infection generally have no problem identifying what is wrong with them. The pain that accompanies a severe infection is intense. Identifying an infection in children is a bit more difficult.
A urinary tract infection will make people feel that their bladders are full, only to have little or no urination pass. The urge to urinate is there, even if the bladder has just been emptied. Many people with severe infections spend much of their time running to the bathroom as it feels they will wet themselves at any moment.
People with a severe urinary tract infection will experience a burning sensation in the urethra when they pass urine. The burning often intensifies toward the end of the urination stream and lingers for a few moments upon completion of urination. The burning sensation is very intense.
Odor and Appearance
Urinary tract infections will produce urine that has a very strong smell. It can also have a cloudy appearance and in severe cases it can contain blood. The blood may or may not be seen with the naked eye, but it can be detected through testing at a doctor's office. Blood in the urine indicates high white blood cells and is an indicator of a severe urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infections can produce aches and pains in the lower abdomen, back, or pelvic area. The stomach may also feel bloated. Severe back pain/ache is often an indication that the urinary tract infection has entered the kidneys. Urinary tract infections that travel to the kidney often produce a fever.
Symptoms in Children
Children that have urinary tract infections can have different symptoms than adults. Children may suffer from incontinence, irritability, fever, voming, a change in eating patterns, and even jaundice. Parents often know their children are ill, but they assume it is a virus or the flu instead of urinary tract infection. Children who are ill should be seen by a pediatrician to ensure that a urinary tract infection is not going undetected.