What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Infections?

Medically Reviewed by Kumar Shital, DO on September 16, 2023
2 min read

Bladder infections are often more annoying than they are serious. But they can travel up to your kidneys, where they can cause a more serious infection in your kidneys called pyelonephritis.

It’s important to treat bladder infections right away. Doctors usually use antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection.

Women, especially, should watch for symptoms. They are more likely to get bladder infections than men are.

The most common sign of cystitis (the medical term for a bladder infection) is a burning feeling when you pee. Some people might call it a “scalding” sensation.

Other symptoms you might have include:

  • Need to pee more often.
  • Peeing only in small amounts at a time
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Urine that smells worse than it should
  • Pain around your pelvis
  • Fever (a sign that the infection might have spread to your kidneys)

In older people, prolonged tiredness (fatigue) or mental confusion might be signs of a more serious urinary tract infection.

If you help take care of a child, you may want to watch for accidental daytime wetting that wasn’t happening before. Other signs include a drop in appetite and vomiting.

Get medical help at once if it hurts to pee and you also have any of these symptoms:

This may mean potentially life-threatening kidney disease, a prostate infection, a bladder or kidney tumor, or a urinary tract stone.

You should also call your doctor if:

  • Symptoms return after you’ve finished treatment.
  • You also have discharge from your vagina or penis. This may be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease (STD), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or other serious infections.
  • You have ongoing pain or a hard time peeing. This may also be a sign of an STD, a vaginal infection, a kidney stone, enlargement of the prostate, or a bladder or prostate tumor. Or it could be that the infection is resistant to the antibiotic your doctor prescribed.