The Complete Guide to Complicated UTI and Its Prevention

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are amongst the most common infections in the world. A Nature Reviews Microbiology article reports that about 150 million people worldwide are affected by UTIs. (1)

Although most UTIs are easy to treat with standard treatments, at times these infections become severe and don’t respond to traditional treatments.


Complicated UTI symptoms

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This leads to complicated UTI symptoms. These complications may lead to serious consequences for the other organs of the body.

This article will help you know more about the potentially harmful effects of complicated UTIs in males and females, their causes, and effective ways to prevent them.


1. The Basics of Urinary Tract Infection


The basis of UTI

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The urinary tract, also known as the renal or the urinary system, allows your body to filter the blood and create urine as a waste product and expel it. It is made up of:

  1. Upper urinary tract, includes the two kidneys and two ureters.
  2. The lower urinary tract comprises the urethra and the bladder.

When microorganisms, mainly the Escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria, infect any of these organs it leads to UTI and commonly involves the lower urinary tract.


2. Reasons That Increase the Likelihood of UTI

A large number of bacteria live in your bladder at all times and keep it healthy and functioning optimally.

There are times when this bacteria infiltrates the body’s defense mechanism and reaches the renal organs, leading to UTIs.

Some risk factors of UTI common to both men and women include:

  • Poor hygiene.
  • A study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases attributes sexual activity to be one of the major causes of UTIs. (2)
  • Not keeping yourself hydrated.
  • Low levels of physical activity or disease-related immobility.

People of any age and gender can develop UTI, a National Library of Medicine journal says that about one in three women report symptoms of UTI. (3)


Reasons that increase the likelihood of UTI

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This is because women have a shorter urethra that reduces the distance that the bacteria need to travel up to the bladder.

Other causes of UTI in women include:

  • Menopause-related changes in estrogen levels.
  • Using birth control such as diaphragms or spermicidal agents.


Certain male-specific causes of UTI include:

  • This National Library of Medicine study demonstrates that the incidence of UTI in men increases with age. (4)
  • Not having undergone circumcision.


Apart from these factors, can anxiety cause UTI symptoms? Certainly, yes. 



3. How Do You Know If You Have UTI?

Simple urinary tract infections in men and women can be both asymptomatic or with clear signs.

Here are some uncomplicated UTI symptoms that you should be aware of:

  1. Foul-smelling urine.
  2. The appearance of cloudy, pink, or dark brown urine.
  3. Frequent urge to urinate.
  4. Passing small amounts of urine frequently.
  5. Experiencing a burning sensation while urinating.


How do you know you have UTI

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4. What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of Complicated UTI?


On one hand, there are simple UTIs that don’t have major symptoms and can be managed with a simple course of antibiotics. 

On the other end of the spectrum are complicated UTIs. Untreated UTI symptoms can become problematic in no time. 

Complicated UTI symptoms are characterized by infections that:

  1. Reoccur
  2. Don’t respond to standard treatments.
  3. May lead to morbidity or mortality.

A study by the National Library of Medicine says that UTIs get complicated due to a range of reasons. (5)

These include:

  • Having undergone a renal transplant.

  • Urinary tract infections that occur in pregnancy.

  • UTIs that occur after having to use instruments such as ureteric stents, catheters, or nephrostomy tubes.

  • Any injury or disability that prevents emptying the bladder when required.
  • Thinning, drying, or weakening of bladder muscles.

  • Infections occurring due to anatomical abnormalities. These may include kidney stones or colovesical fistula.

  • UTIs that occur due to the patient’s immunocompromised state. This may be due to being of older age, HIV, diabetes, use of steroids or, chemotherapy.


Signs of complicated symptoms

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The symptoms of complicated UTIs in males and females depend on which part of the urinary tract is infected. They include:

Part Of The Urinary Tract

Common Symptoms

Bladder (Cystitis)

Haematuria, or blood in the urine


Painful urination


Urge to urinate frequently


Pressure in the pelvic region



Kidneys (Acute Pyelonephritis)

High fever, chills, and shaking


Vomiting and nausea


Flank pain or back pain



Urethra (Urethritis)

Burning sensation while urination




Other ascending UTI symptoms include:

  1. Increased heart and respiratory rate.
  2. A drop in the white blood cell count.
  3. Decreased blood pressure.
  4. Mental changes such as confusion, anxiety or delirium.


5. How Is UTI Treated?

According to The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, leaving complicated UTIs in females and males may lead to serious conditions. (6)

These include:

  • Bone or joint infections.
  • Kidney disease and failure.
  • Death, in serious cases.
  • Sepsis, or the rapid damage of tissues and organs.


How is UTI treated?

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Once your physician assesses the symptoms of a complicated UTI and confirms the diagnosis, the usual lines of treatment include:

  • A six-month course of low-dose antibiotics orally or intravenously.
  • Vaginal estrogen therapy in the case of postmenopausal women.
  • Vasopressor treatment, in case the body has gone into septic shock.



6. Which Are the Best Ways to Prevent UTIs?

How to prevent Prevention is the key to saving yourself from the discomforting UTI systemic symptoms.

Here are some of the ways on how to prevent UTI

  • Avoid chemical-based or scented feminine hygiene products.

  • If your birth control choices are the problem, talk to your obstetrician about exploring other options.

  • Include probiotics and cranberry juice in your diet.

  • Urinate before and after sexual activity to flush out the bacteria.

  • Wipe your genitals from front to back after using the restroom. This will prevent bringing E.coli from the anus to the urethra.


Preventive measures

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Along with all these, a simple change in your lifestyle can help prevent UTIs. According to the British Journal of General Practice, drinking more fluids is an effective complementary therapy for reducing the risk of UTIs. (7)

A great way to mix up tastes and flavours while improving your hydration levels is to include tea for UTI in your diet.

There are variety of UTI teas which include:

1. Ginger tea for UTI

2. Corn silk tea for UTI


Out of all the natural and caffeine-free tea options, the Teatox Kidney Cleanse Tea for UTI Support corn silk tea receives special attention.

This tea is:

  • Crafted with 100% NATURAL and ORGANIC ingredients.

  • A SUPER DIURETIC that increases the production of urine and its passing without any irritation or uneasiness.

  • EXCELLENT source of nutrients and loaded with antioxidants.

  • EASY to make and include in your diet.

  • DELICIOUS flavor with a UNIQUE taste.


UTI tea


Even the Future Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences also recommends adding corn silk tea to your diet to prevent pus cells and crystals in the urine and reduces the risk of UTI reoccurrence(8)

Just add this powerful antioxidant to your diet and experience its incredible anti-UTI benefits. 

Other than the above methods, natural home remedies include:  

1. Oregano Oil for UTI

2. Yoghurt for UTI

3. Cranberry juice for UTI

4. Apple Cider Vinegar


Have more queries about Urinary Tract Infection? Use our guides to the following topics for support:

1. How to relieve UTI pain

2. UTI vs yeast infection symptoms

3. Difference between UTI and Diabetes symptoms

4. Foods to avoid with UTI

5. How long does it take for UTI to go away

6. Is Hibiscus tea for UTI good? 

7. The Bottom Line

A benign UTI can quickly convert into a serious problem if you don’t know how to differentiate between complicated vs uncomplicated UTI symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned female or male complicated UTI symptoms, seek immediate medical care. This is the only way to prevent irreversible damage to your body and live a healthier and happier life.

Can Anxiety Cause UTI Symptoms? Facts About Urological Health That You Should Know!