Can a UTI Cause Bleeding Like a Period?

If you have ever felt the discomfort of a UTI you will know that they are no joke. Indeed they can not only be painful but come with a whole wealth of unwelcome symptoms. One of which is spotting or blood in the urine. A topic that you can read all about in the post below. 

Table of Contents

What Is a UTI?

Painful and inconvenient, there are over 150 million global cases of UTIs a year. A UTI is an infection that occurs in the kidneys, bladder, or urethra. Indeed, there are separate names for the types of infections that happen in each distinct area of the urinary system. Bladder infections are known as Cystitis, while Urethritis is an infection of the Urethra. Both of these tend to be uncomfortable but are usually easier to treat with the right medications than an upper urinary tract infection. 

This is because an upper urinary tract infection, otherwise known as Pyelonephritis impacts the kidneys, and can cause significant damage if left untreated. Indeed, with an upper urinary system infection, you can expect not only pain but nausea, fever, and chills as well. 

Can a UTI Cause Spotting or Bleeding Like a Period?

UTIs have many symptoms, which will be discussed in more detail in the section below. However, symptoms that many people are shocked to discover when they get a UTI are spotting and/or blood in their urine. 

Spotting is when you notice a small amount of blood in your underwear or when you wipe, while you are not on your period. Of course, spotting is quite common for women of fertile age, but if it’s happening outside of your menstrual cycle or you have additional symptoms it could be a UTI and so is worth having it checked out.

Blood in your urine, on the other hand, is known as hematuria and can be a little scary, especially for women who are not currently experiencing their period. However, it is quite a common symptom of a UTI (why this happens is explained below). Happily, both the spotting and the hematuria will stop when you have received treatment for your UTI. 

What Causes Bleeding During a UTI?

Bleeding during a UTI does not come from the cervix. Instead, it is caused by an inflammation response in the urinary tract. This is your body’s reaction to the bacteria that is causing the UTI, and it means the red blood cells in the walls of the urinary tract are much more vulnerable to leaking into the flow of urine. 

Sometimes this happens in a very visible way. This is when you will notice the blood in your urine, or your pee might have a pink, brown, or reddish hue. This is known as gross hematuria.

However, it’s also possible to have blood in your urine when you have a UTI and not realize it. This is what is known as microscopic hematuria, and only your doctor will be able to tell if that happens, once they have examined a sample under a microscope. 

Do You Have a UTI or Are You on Your Period?

It can be quite difficult to tell whether you are having a period or whether you have a UTI sometimes, especially if you are experiencing spotting and abdominal pain which can feel similar. Also, some people are more likely to get UTIs when on period because of the change in hormones, and an increased frequency of sex during the infertile period. 

A major clue that will help you tell if it’s a UTI or your period is whether your period is due. If not, the bleeding you are experiencing could well be linked to a UTI and you should get it checked out. 

However, if you are on your period but are also getting symptoms of a UTI, you will need to look out for additional symptoms like the frequent need to urinate, odd-looking or smelling urine, and fever or chills. If you notice the presence of these, or something feels off, then speaking to your doctor is always a good course of action. 

How to Treat UTI Bleeding?

Spotting and hematuria caused by a UTI will stop once the UTI treatment begins working. This is because the antibiotics you take will kill off the bacteria that are the cause of the infection, thereby reducing the inflammation that is leading to the UTI bleeding. 

What Are Other UTI Symptoms?

In addition to spotting and blood in your urine, UTIs may present with the following symptoms: 

  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen or back
  • Frequent need to urinate (usually unproductive)
  • Burning sensation as you urinate 
  • Odd-looking or smelling urine – dark, cloudy
  • Fever, including chills ( this is a significant symptom to look out for as it can indicate that the UTI may be affecting your upper urinary tract, which can be very serious). 

When to See a Doctor?

UTIs are not only unpleasant but can have serious consequences for your long-term health if not treated quickly. If the infection spreads to the upper urinary tract system, it can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. 

With this in mind, it’s advisable to seek medical help as soon as possible if you suspect you have a UTI. In particular, if your symptoms are worsening, have not improved after 2-3 days, you get UTIs often, or if you have the symptoms of an upper UTI you should not delay and see your doctor immediately. 

Get Help From an Online Doctor

With DrHouse, you can get the help you need from an online doctor! With us, you can start an on-demand doctor visit and see a clinician within 15 mins. They will even be able to diagnose you and prescribe you antibiotics if necessary.

Key Takeaways

  • UTIs can cause spotting and blood in the urine 
  • It is caused by an inflammation of the walls of the urethra 
  • It will disappear as you treat the UTI
  • You can get UTI help from your online doctors 

Sources:

  • Kucheria R, Dasgupta P, Sacks SH. Urinary tract infections: new insights into a common problemPostgraduate Medical Journal 2005;81:83-86. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/pgmj.2004.023036 
  • Graversen HV, Nørgaard M, Nitsch D, Christiansen CF. Preadmission kidney function and risk of acute kidney injury in patients hospitalized with acute pyelonephritis: A Danish population-based cohort study. PLoS One. 2021 Mar 3;16(3):e0247687. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0247687 
  • Nai Kid Lai, Vinesh Appadurai, Melissa Yeoh, Daniel Anderson (2013). Macroscopic haematuria A urological approach. Australian Family Physician (AFP) Volume 42, Issue 3, March 2013. Available from: https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/march/macroscopic-haematuria 
  • Jancel T, Dudas V. Management of uncomplicated urinary tract infections. West J Med. 2002 Jan;176(1):51-5.  Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136%2Fewjm.176.1.51 
  • Ahmed H, Farewell D, Francis NA, Paranjothy S, Butler CC (2018) Risk of adverse outcomes following urinary tract infection in older people with renal impairment: Retrospective cohort study using linked health record data. PLOS Medicine 15(9): e1002652.  Available from: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002652

Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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