Complications of UTI

If left untreated, lower urinary tract infections can progress to the upper urinary tract and cause complications. Symptoms that indicate upper UTI (e.g., pyelonephritis) in adults include the following:

  • Chills
  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Pain below the ribs
  • Vomiting

Other UTI Complications

Hormonal changes and shifts in the urinary tract during pregnancy increase the risk for kidney infection. Prenatal care includes regular urine testing because bacteria are often present without causing symptoms and UTI during pregnancy may result in complications (e.g., premature birth, high blood pressure [hypertension]) for the mother and fetus.

Diseases that suppress the immune system (e.g., HIV/AIDS) and debilitating diseases (e.g., cancer, sickle cell anemia) increase the risk for urinary tract infections and complications.

Publication Review By: Daniel Khouri, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 18 Nov 2011