The Unexpected Side Effects of an Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are extremely common, with roughly half of all women experiencing one at some point in their lives. This unpleasant infection typically involves pain, bladder spasms, and burning when urinating, though the symptoms are usually easily treatable with antibiotics and other over-the-counter remedies. 

However, some people experience unexpected side effects from taking UTI medications that can range from embarrassing to downright dangerous. If you have any questions about the possible side effects of your UTI medication or would like to find out more about treatment options for your UTI, speak with your doctor today!

Bladder spasms

A UTI infection can cause bladder spasms, which feel like a charlie horse. This happens when your muscles start to tighten as a response to pain or discomfort and you feel sudden sharp pains in your lower abdomen that make you double over. 
Try taking 600 mg of ibuprofen or 800 milligrams of acetaminophen every four hours to help ease these contractions. They’ll help relieve both spasms and pain caused by inflammation in your lower urinary tract. You can also reach for ginger teas if they’re available, as they’ve been found effective at relieving muscle pain and cramps—and may be helpful for women with painful menstrual cramps, too.

Sleep disruption

UTIs can cause you to wake up frequently at night. That’s because a UTI can make it difficult to completely empty your bladder, which leads to urine pooling in your bladder and sleeping on a full bladder. If you often experience trouble falling asleep or sleep very lightly, waking up frequently, know that UTIs are one potential cause of these issues.
If you suffer from frequent UTIs and have these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor; they may be able to help you manage them by prescribing antibiotics.

Painful intercourse

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can actually cause pain during intercourse. If you’re experiencing discomfort, try warming up your body with a heating pad or warm bath. Some people report that cranberry juice, which is naturally anti-bacterial and acidic, may help with symptoms as well. 
It’s best to talk to your doctor about possible UTI treatments if you’re experiencing painful intercourse. In some cases, sex might need to be avoided for a few days until things are feeling better.


A UTI can cause you to have a hard time sleeping. The bacteria that infect your urinary tract and lead to a UTI can also pass into your bloodstream, sometimes making its way to your brain. 
This causes what’s known as brain fog, which will make it hard for you to focus or pay attention during work. A lack of sleep caused by insomnia is disruptive to all aspects of life, especially when it causes you to fall asleep on the job.

Increased urination

Although most UTIs are caused by bacteria in your urinary tract, they can sometimes be caused by viral infections, which won’t respond to antibiotics. 
Viral infections typically lead to more frequent urination than normal. UTIs that cause frequent urination also usually include pain and burning with urination, as well as other symptoms. The good news is that you can fight off a UTI on your own without medical intervention—just make sure you get proper hydration and rest while you wait it out.

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