When UTI Symptoms Signal Something More Serious
An urgent need to urinate. A burning sensation when you do. Blood in your urine. All are common
symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) - but they could also signal something more serious.
This week is Kidney Health Australia's Wee Week which aims to promote better urinary health. This year the
spotlight is on Urinary Tract Infections - one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor.
In most cases a UTI can be treated quite easily by your GP. However, the Urological Society of Australia and
New Zealand recommends seeking a quick diagnosis because some UTI symptoms may in fact be a sign of
something that may require surgical management.
'Urologists are frequently referred patients who experience recurrent UTIs," says President of the Urological
Society of Australia and New Zealand, Dr David Winkle.
'Life threatening urinary infections are frequently associated with urinary tract obstructions requiring
urgent, or life-saving, intervention," says Dr Winkle.
There are a number of other urological conditions that may be indicated by typical UTI symptoms that
should not be ignored. Below are some examples.
A persistent feeling that you need to urinate – sometimes yielding only a few drops – is a common sign of a
UTI, but in men – particularly older men - this may actually be caused by an enlarged prostate, otherwise
known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). This is a common condition as men age that can seriously
affect quality of life. It is diagnosed and treated by a urologist with either medication or surgery.
The same symptom may also point to an -overactive bladder' which is a continence issue requiring specialist
Pain or burning during urination
A very uncomfortable or burning sensation during urination is a very common, and extremely unpleasant,
symptom of UTI. However, it's also a symptom of kidney stones which is something that can only be
managed by surgical or shockwave treatments.
Blood in urine
As well as UTIs, blood in the urine may be another symptom of kidney stones, which, while not lifethreatening, can be exceptionally painful. However, a more serious scenario is cancer. Blood in the urine
may also be one of the symptoms of prostate cancer and the far less common bladder cancer.
'While most people with these symptoms will be reassured they don't have a more serious health-issue, it's
nonetheless important that they get themselves checked out and tested, to ensure they get timely
treatment for whatever is causing the problem," says Dr Winkle.