Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms: Nausea | Uqora
7 min read | April 15, 24

Can a UTI Cause Nausea?

Medically Reviewed by: Heather Ott

Written by: Sareena Rama

Article summary

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can sometimes lead to symptoms that go beyond the urinary system, including nausea, vomiting, chills, and more(1). The likelihood of experiencing these symptoms often depends on the severity of the infection. When the infection has spread to the upper abdomen or kidneys, nausea is more likely to occur(2). If you are experiencing any type of UTI symptom, it’s important to seek medical attention to ensure you get proper treatment.

Can a UTI Cause Nausea?

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It’s completely normal to experience nausea as a symptom of any type of infection of the body(3). We understand that this can be an uncomfortable experience, especially if you are also dealing with a UTI. In this article we’ll address why nausea may occur due to a UTI.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection caused by bacteria that enters the urinary tract and impacts the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Common symptoms of UTIs include frequent urination, a burning sensation during urination, cloudy urine, blood in the urine, and discomfort in the lower abdomen or pelvis(1). But can a UTI make you nauseous? 

It’s important to seek medical treatment right away if your UTI symptoms extend beyond discomfort in your lower abdomen, pelvis, and urogenital region. Symptoms like back pain, chills, fever, and nausea, may be an indication that the infection has spread to your kidneys(1)

Keep reading to learn more about the link between nausea and urinary tract infections.

Can a UTI cause nausea? Let’s go though how UTIs and nausea may be linked:  

  • Inflammatory response: UTIs trigger an inflammatory response in the body as the immune system combats the invading bacteria; the most common infection causing bacteria is Escherichia coli (E. coli). This inflammation can extend beyond the urinary tract and affect other parts of your body, including your flank, abdomen, pelvis, and lower back(4).
  • Severity of infection: The severity of the UTI may also play a role. In more severe cases where the infection has spread to the kidneys, individuals may experience a range of symptoms. If a UTI progresses without treatment, it can lead to more serious complications such as kidney infections. The spread of infection to the kidneys can result in nausea(1)
  • Every body is different: Each individual's experience with a UTI is different. While some may experience nausea as a symptom, others may not. Factors such as overall health and pre-existing conditions can contribute to how someone experiences a UTI. For example, people with anatomical or structural abnormalities, those who have undergone kidney transplants, and those who are immunocompromised are at a heightened risk of experiencing complex UTIs, which often come with more severe symptoms(5).

UTI Symptoms and Signs

It can be beneficial and potentially life saving to understand the range of UTI symptoms, especially when nausea is present. While symptoms can vary between different age groups and genders, common indicators of a UTI include(6):

  • Painful or burning sensation during urination: This symptom can be uncomfortable and painful. This sensation may range from mild discomfort to a more pronounced burning feeling.
  • Increased frequency of urination: Individuals with UTIs often experience a frequent urge to urinate. This can lead to increased trips to the bathroom, even when the volume of urine is small.
  • Cloudy or strong-smelling urine: Changes in the appearance and odor of urine are characteristic signs of a UTI. Urine may appear cloudy, and it may emit a strong, unpleasant odor.
  • Discolored urine: The presence of blood in the urine, known as hematuria, can occur in some UTI cases. This may give the urine a pink or reddish tint.
  • Pelvic pain: Some individuals with UTIs may experience pelvic pain or discomfort.
  • Fatigue or weakness: Systemic symptoms, such as fatigue and weakness, may accompany a UTI, especially if the infection has spread or become more severe.
  • Fever and chills: In cases of a kidney infection, systemic symptoms like fever and chills may develop. These indicate a more serious infection that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, can occur in some individuals with UTIs. These symptoms may be associated with the systemic effects of the infection.
  • Back or side pain: Pain in the lower back or flanks can indicate involvement of the kidneys, especially in cases of ascending infections. Kidney infections can be more severe and may require urgent medical intervention.
  • Mental changes or confusion: UTIs can also lead to mental changes or confusion, particularly among elderly individuals.

Learn more about UTI causes, symptoms, and concerns from our UTI Learning Center.

Tips to Manage Nausea Until You See a Doctor

Experiencing any UTI symptom is awful, especially nausea. 

Here are some tips to help manage the symptoms of nausea:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins and bacteria from the urinary tract(7). Additionally, staying hydrated can help soothe the stomach and manage nausea. Opt for clear fluids, such as water, tea without milk, or diluted fruit juices without pulp(8).
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Limit or avoid beverages  like caffeine and alcohol that can contribute to dehydration and irritate the stomach. They can also exacerbate nausea and stomach discomfort(9).
  • Ginger: Ginger has anti-nausea properties. Consider sipping on ginger tea or chewing on ginger candies. This can be soothing for an upset stomach(10).
  • Small meals: Instead of consuming large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can help manage nausea(11).
  • Eat bland foods: It’s recommended to eat plain or bland foods, such as crackers and toast.They can be gentle on the stomach and may help ease nausea(12)
  • Rest: Getting adequate rest is essential for the body to recover from a UTI, but it’s not always easy for all of us to. Lie down in a comfortable position and keep your head elevated up to 12 inches above your feet to help reduce your nausea(11).
  • OTC medications: Doctors may recommend over-the-counter medications. These medications are designed to alleviate nausea and vomiting(11)
  • Consult a healthcare professional: If nausea persists or is severe, especially while you are dealing with a UTI, consult with a healthcare professional immediately for further evaluation. This could be a sign of a more serious complication.

Can a UTI Cause Nausea: Frequently Asked Questions

Why do UTIs cause nausea?

It’s completely normal to experience nausea as a symptom of any type of infection of the body. This can be a more serious symptom of a UTI so it’s important to seek medical treatment if symptoms worsen. If you are experiencing any type of UTI symptom, it’s important to seek medical attention to ensure you get proper treatment. 

When you’re experiencing symptoms beyond the typical frequent, urgent, and painful urination, such as nausea, chills, and fever, contact your healthcare provider right away. It may be a sign that your infection has spread to your kidneys(1).

Is nausea a common symptom of a UTI?

Can a bladder infection make you nauseous? Nausea is not considered a common symptom of a typical, uncomplicated UTI. The classic symptoms of a UTI include a burning sensation during urination, increased frequency of urination, urgency to urinate, and cloudy or strong-smelling urine. However, individual responses to infections can vary, and some people may experience nausea as part of their overall symptom profile(13).Nausea is more commonly associated with more severe or complicated UTIs, especially if the infection has spread to the kidneys. 

Kidney infections (pyelonephritis) can cause a broader range of symptoms, including fever, back pain, and nausea. In such cases, prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent further complications(14). If someone is experiencing nausea along with other urinary symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional for diagnosis and appropriate treatment. It's also crucial to consider other potential causes of nausea, as it can be a symptom of various medical conditions beyond just a UTI.

Are there specific UTI-related factors that might lead to more severe nausea?

While nausea is not a common symptom of uncomplicated UTIs, there are specific UTI-related factors that might lead to more severe nausea, especially when the infection becomes more severe or involves the kidneys. 

Here are some factors that can contribute to increased nausea in UTIs:

  • UTIs that progress to involve the kidneys
  • Spread of infection
  • Delay in treatment

How long does nausea typically last during a UTI?

Since nausea is not a typical symptom of uncomplicated UTIs, the duration and severity of nausea during a UTI can vary widely for each individual. When it does occur, it is often linked to more severe cases, especially those that involve kidney infections(14)

In cases of a mild or uncomplicated UTI where nausea occurs – it will likely resolve with the appropriate treatment. If the nausea is due to symptoms associated with a kidney infection, it may persist until the infection is effectively treated. It’s important to seek medical treatment if you think you might be experiencing nausea due to a UTI.

Can treating a UTI alleviate the nausea, or are separate treatments needed?

Antibiotic treatment targets the bacteria to clear the infection and alleviate symptoms. It's crucial to seek medical treatment immediately if you think you’re experiencing a UTI to begin antibiotic treatment to clear the infection and prevent it from spreading.  The time it takes for symptoms to improve can vary depending on factors like the UTI's severity, how quickly treatment begins, and individual responses to medications. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this resource was helpful in answering your questions about UTI-related nausea. Remember that nausea is not a common symptom of a standard urinary tract infection, it may signal that the infection has reached your kidneys – seek medical treatment immediately to ensure you have the proper treatment.

In addition to addressing the UTI with antibiotic treatment, there are various strategies for relieving nausea in the short term while you wait to see your doctor. These include consuming bland and spaced-out meals, incorporating ginger into your diet, using over-the-counter medications with your doctor's approval, and more. 

Note: references to "female", “women”, “male”, and “men” in this article refer to sex assigned at birth, not gender.

This article does not replace medical advice. We recommend you seek treatment if you think you are experiencing a UTI.


Sareena Rama manages Uqora’s Digital Content and is responsible for Uqora's social media, newsletters, and contributing articles to the UTI Learning Center.


Heather Ott is Uqora's Senior Health and Science Educator. She supports the team by writing Learning Center articles and reviewing all scientific communications.


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