FAST FACTS: Urinary Tract Infection Pain


UTI Pain

Pain due to infection in the urinary tract can be from the passage of urine. It can also be felt over the bladder or flank area. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can vary from a simple infection to a potentially life-threating one. Treatment of a UTI with limited bacteria in the urine is not recommended. Using antibiotics for a mild infection can increase the rate of adverse side effects and increase the rate of recurrent infections due to multiple drug resistant bacteria.

​​​​​​​Normal Changes of Aging/Risks of UTI

  • The ability to resist a UTI is lower if your loved one has other conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, or autoimmune disorders
  • In women, estrogen deficiency thins vaginal tissue causing more vulnerability to bacteria
  • An enlarged prostrate in older males can cause retention of urine, which predisposes men to chronic infection due to entrapped bacteria
  • Incontinence and overall functional decline can further weaken the ability to fight infection
  • The use of indwelling urinary catheters, which may increase with age, increases the risk of UTIs, hospitalizations, and antibiotic resistance


  • Assessment by your loved one’s healthcare provider should include vital signs and review of mental status and level of pain
  • Presence of back pain with tenderness (one side) could indicate a kidney infection
  • The healthcare provider will review your loved one’s history of UTIs or catheterizations, kidney stones, or recent dehydration
  • Mental status change is a MAJOR and common symptom of infection
  • Healthcare provider will obtain a urine sample

Possible Intervention

  • Prescription or over the counter (OTC) medications, depending upon the diagnosis
  • Non-Drug Treatments include maintaining a calm environment, adequate fluid intake, and providing support as needed to maintain safety

What Else You Should Do

  • Write down and share information about your loved one’s pain with their healthcare provider
  • Use a Pain Diary to note important information useful to the healthcare provider
  • Encourage your loved one to try a non-drug treatment and document the impact on their pain in their Pain Diary


Revised January 2022

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