5 complications of urinary tract infection you should know

5 complications of urinary tract infection you should know

A urinary tract infection or UTI may lead to severe health complications if left untreated.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : October 28, 2014 4:15 PM IST

A urinary tract infection or UTI, is commonly seen in women as compared to males. Although children and older people are susceptible to this condition, pregnant women and those with a pre-existing health problem are at an increased risk of its complications. Hence, if you experience symptoms of UTI, consult your doctor or try natural remedies to treat urinary tract infection. It is important to get treated for UTI as the complications of UTI are rare but can cause serious consequences on the health. Some of the common UTI complications are as follows.

Recurrent urinary tract infections

A urinary tract infection if left untreated or improperly treated may lead to recurrent UTIs. This is commonly seen in women who experience UTIs due to unhygienic practices and weak immune system. It may have serious consequences if pregnant women or young children suffer from urinary tract infection.

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Kidney infections (pyelonephritis)

A rare but severe health complication caused by untreated UTI is permanent kidney damage or infection of the kidneys (pyelonephritis). This is because, the bacteria present in the urinary bladder may travel to the kidneys leading to a myriad of symptoms such as nausea, back pain or fever. A kidney infection may in turn progress into permanent scarring or damage of the kidneys and kidney failure along with increasing the risk of developing hypertension.


One of the life-threatening clinical conditions caused due to untreated UTI is sepsis. Characterized by chills, rapid breathing, increased heart rate or dizziness, sepsis occurs when the infection from the urinary bladder spreads into the bloodstream. This, if untreated for a long time, may interfere with normal functioning of the organs leading to severe consequences.

Complications of pregnancy

An untreated UTI may cause a pregnant woman to give birth to a premature or low-birth-weight infant, which in turn might increase the risk of clinical problems in the newborn child. In addition to these, urinary tract infection during pregnancy also increases the risk of delayed labor and kidney infection. In certain cases, the risk of developing potential pregnancy complications is high and hence, pregnant women are advised to get regularly check-ups for UTIs.


Recurrent UTIs in men increases the risk of prostate complications such as prostatitis, inflammation or swelling of the prostate gland. Although this condition can be effectively treated with a one-month course of antibiotics, it is important to treat UTI before the condition aggravates further.

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