UTI or urinary tract infection affects millions of women worldwide. The urinary tract is a system consisting of the bladder, tubes called ureters as well as the kidneys. This system creates and transports the urine out of the body, but in some cases, germs get inside the urine causing an infection known as UTI or bladder infection. One of the major symptoms of a UTI is intense back pain on the lower side, particularly on the right side, or in some cases, just below the ribs.
Here are the symptoms of UTI in detail:
- Painful urination
- The urgency to ‘go’ frequently but hardly producing any urine at all.
- The urine may be cloudy, reddish or bloody.
- There is a bad odor accompanying the urine.
- Fever may be present
- Cramps in the abdomen are also reported by some women
- Lower back pain or pain in the flanks or just below the ribcage is also common in UTI.
Why does the back hurt during UTI?
Many times, a bladder infection remains untreated for a long time. This results in spreading of the infection from the bladder to the kidneys. This is when most patients complain of a dull pain in the back. Fever, chills, nausea and vomiting are other symptoms of a kidney infection resulting from UTI complications.
When should you see a doctor?
If the symptoms of the UTI, particularly your back pain are affecting your day-to-day life, or if you have had frequent UTIs in the past few months, you must see a specialist without further delay. Urologists can recommend the right tests to diagnose your condition and can also help prevent further complications.
Many pregnant women tend to get UTIs in their 2nd or 3rd trimester. Most such cases are not serious and the symptoms gradually ease after a few days. However; in some cases, a course of antibiotics may be necessary. This can help cure the bladder infection lower back pain, provided one takes the medicines as prescribed by the doctor. Even if the back pain has eased after taking the medicine for a few days, one must not stop it and must complete the full dosage. Failure to do so could cause the infection to recur.
Back pain: Is it related to UTI or something else?
Many STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis often produce symptoms similar to those of bladder infection, including lower back pain. Likewise, yeast infections can also cause intense pain in lower or right side of the back especially when the fungal infection enters the blood stream. Hence a lab test must be performed to rule out these possibilities.
Causes of UTI
- Honeymoon cystitis is a common condition that can lead to UTI and related backache. Many women tend to get bladder infections each time they have sexual intercourse. Those using a diaphragm for birth control are also at greater risk from such infections.
- Patients with weak immune system, elderly or disable patients using catheters are also at a risk from recurring UTIs.
- Women who use douches, fragrant shower gels or other personal feminine hygiene products can also increase the chances of developing UTIs.
- Menopause and pregnancy are two other conditions that could cause UTIs due to hormonal changes.
- Women who do not drink adequate fluids are unknowingly increasing their UTI risks.
- Also, holding the urine for longer periods or having a tendency of developing kidney stones can also cause UTI back pain on the left side of the body.
- Similarly, men with enlarged prostate or those with kidney stones can also develop bladder infection and subsequent pain in the back side.
Treating bladder infection symptoms
Recurrent bladder infections can be treated using single lower daily doses of antibiotics. Women with tendency of developing UTIs following sexual intercourse can also take a single dose of antibiotic immediately after sex. Many doctors also advise patients to self treat their UTI symptoms using 3-day antibiotic courses as soon as they occur. One can even take a fever reduce/pain killer such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen to ease the UTI back pain. Sleeping with a hot water bag can also relieve symptoms of abdominal pain and UTI back ache.
In some cases, there are no symptoms accompanying the bladder infection-known as asymptomatic UTIs. These often lead the patient to have a bladder infection for long time. Only a chance/ routine urine examination shows presence of bacteria in the urine. Naturally, no treatment is needed, but, pregnant women, children or those with risk of developing a kidney infection must be treated immediately nevertheless.
Back pain especially UTI related lower back pain on the right side should not be ignored.See your doctor immediately if the pain returns shortly after you have been treated with antibiotics.