7 Early Warning Signs Of A UTI, According To Experts

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Once a urinary tract infection (UTI) has developed, you'll likely experience all sorts of painful symptoms, including burning during urination, pain in your lower abdomen, and even fever and chills. But if you're on the lookout for early warning signs of a UTI, then you can take steps to clear up the infection. And hopefully not feel too bad.

"Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria — for example, commonly E. coli — [make their] way into the urethra (urinary system)," Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a family and emergency medical doctor, tells Bustle. Sometimes it happens when bacteria from the back passage, or anal area, make their up to the front, she says. This can happen if you wear fitted clothing, wipe from back to front after using the bathroom, or forget to pee after sex.

UTIs are incredibly common, but also incredibly painful and annoying. So the moment you feel like something's off, consider that your cue to take action. "Some things you can do to help relieve the symptoms are using a heating pad over your lower abdomen, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding drinks that can irritate your bladder, such as coffee, alcohol, or soft drinks that contain citrus juice or caffeine," Ashley Wood, RN, BSN, a registered nurse and contributor to Demystifying Your Health, LLC, tells Bustle. You can also try over-the-counter UTI drugs, which may help with the pain.

The only real way to clear up an infection, though, is with antibiotics, Wood says. So if you don't feel better in a day or two, and especially if the symptoms listed below are getting worse, let a doctor know.