UTI Symptoms: Does urinary tract infection cause nausea and vomiting?

When you have a condition and experience certain unusual symptoms, it’s normal to wonder if the health condition is the cause. A UTI will probably not cause you to vomit. But that scenario is not impossible. If your UTI is linked to an infection of the kidneys, then you might feel nauseous. 

A man wearing a sleep robe with hands placed on his mouth

Key takeaways:

  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections do not commonly cause nausea and vomiting. Their typical symptoms include frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, cloudy or bloody urine, and strong-smelling urine.
  • However, if a UTI spreads to the kidneys and develops into a kidney infection (pyelonephritis), more severe symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, can manifest.
  • If you experience symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, along with urinary issues, it is advisable to see a doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment so that it doesn’t progress to more complicated conditions like sepsis.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection that affects the urinary system. This occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause an infection. Parts of the urinary tract that can be infected include the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Urinary tract infections can affect people of all ages and genders, but they are more common in women.

Health experts estimate that 60% of people with vaginas will experience at least one episode of UTI in their lifetime. People assigned male at birth, on the other hand, have a lower risk, with around 12% experiencing a UTI at some point in their lives, bringing it to the conclusion that more than 8.1 million people seek medical attention for UTIs every year.

This article answers the question of whether a urinary tract infection causes nausea and vomiting, what to do if you experience nausea with UTI, other symptoms associated with UTI based on the part affected, and home remedies to relieve nausea with UTI. 

Does UTI cause you to throw up?

Whether or not a UTI will cause nausea and vomiting depends on the part of the urinary tract affected. As discussed earlier, the urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder. 

If an infection spreads to the kidneys, it will develop into a kidney infection known as pyelonephritis (a more severe form of UTI). This type of urinary tract infection can cause more severe symptoms, including nausea and vomiting.

However, the symptoms of kidney infections are not the same for everyone of all ages. Children younger than 2 years old and who have a kidney infection may present with a high fever. While adults older than 65 with a kidney infection may have problems with thinking, such as confusion, hallucinations, or jumbled speech.

Kidney infections require immediate treatment as they can be serious and potentially life-threatening, and if left untreated, can cause complications like sepsis.

Why does a UTI cause nausea?

The exact reason why UTIs like kidney infections cause nausea or vomiting is not known, but the inflammation and irritation of the kidneys and other organs closer to it can make one feel nauseated.

In addition to nausea, a kidney infection may cause symptoms such as fever and upper back pain (usually on one side). It's important to note that, while nausea can occur with kidney infections, it is not a typical symptom of uncomplicated UTIs. 

What to do when you are experiencing nausea caused by UTI

If you are experiencing nausea due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), particularly a kidney infection, here are a few steps you can take to treat the symptom:

  • See a doctor. You can start by seeing healthcare professionals and discussing your symptoms, including nausea. Your doctor will offer you guidance and determine if additional medical evaluation, like blood tests or treatment, is necessary.
  • Drink enough fluid. Nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration if you are unable to keep fluids down. Sip on clear fluids like plain water, water with a little ginger inside, or an oral rehydration solution to stay hydrated. Avoid caffeinated and sugary beverages, as they can worsen nausea. 
  • Get some rest. Avoid strenuous activities and get plenty of sleep to support your immune system and overall well-being.
  • Watch out for what you eat. Stick to light, bland foods that are easier on the stomach. Consider eating small, frequent meals instead of large ones. Options like crackers or rice are gentle on the digestive system.
  • Try some OTC medications. There are over-the-counter medications available to help alleviate nausea, such as antacids or antiemetics. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medications to ensure they are safe and appropriate for people with UTIs.

Home remedies that may help relieve nausea caused by UTI

While home remedies may not directly treat a urinary tract infection (UTI), they can help alleviate the nausea associated with it. Here are a few home remedies that may provide relief:

  1. Ginger: Ginger has long been used to ease nausea. You can try ginger tea. Alternatively, you can put fresh ginger slices in hot water to make a soothing ginger tea.
  2. Peppermint: Peppermint has calming properties that can help soothe the stomach. You can sip on peppermint tea to ease nausea.
  3. Stay hydrated: It's important to stay hydrated, especially if you're experiencing symptoms like nausea that take out fluid from your body. Sip on clear fluids like water, herbal teas, or electrolyte solutions in small amounts throughout the day. Take small, frequent sips rather than large amounts at once.
  4. Eat small meals. Consider eating light foods that are easy to digest, such as crackers, toast, plain rice, and boiled potatoes. Avoid spicy, greasy, or heavy foods that may further upset the stomach.
  5. Rest and relax. Give your body time to rest and recover. Avoid activities that may worsen your nausea or fatigue. Find a comfortable and quiet space to relax and take deep breaths.

Home remedies can provide temporary relief for UTI symptoms, but it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to address the underlying cause of the nausea. 

Other symptoms of UTI

Here are the common symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) grouped based on the part of the urinary tract affected:

Bladder infection (cystitis) symptoms:

  • Frequent urge to urinate (urinary urgency)
  • Burning sensation or pain during urination (dysuria)
  • Passing small amounts of urine frequently
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pressure or discomfort
  • Lower abdominal pain or cramping

Ureter infection (ureteritis) symptoms:

  • Flank pain
  • Painful urination (dysuria)
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine

Urethra infection (urethritis) symptoms:

  • Burning or pain during urination (dysuria)
  • Urinary urgency
  • Itching or irritation in the urethra

Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) symptoms:

  • High fever (often with shaking chills)
  • Pain in the back or side (flank pain), usually on one side
  • Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue or general malaise
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine

Wrap up

Nausea and vomiting are not typical signs of UTI unless the infection affects one or both kidneys.

It's important to note that symptoms can vary from person to person, and not everyone may experience all of these symptoms. If you suspect you have a UTI or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in this article, see a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is diarrhea a symptom of UTI? 

A type of UTI known as a kidney infection is most likely to cause diarrhea. So yes, diarrhea is a symptom of UTI, particularly an infection affecting the kidney.

When should you see a doctor for urinary tract infection?

You should consider seeing a doctor if the symptoms are severe or getting worse, if the symptoms haven’t started to improve after a few days, if you get UTIs frequently, or if your symptoms come back after treatment.


  1. Urology Care Foundation. (2022) What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Adults?
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases(2017) Symptoms & Causes of Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)
  3. National Health Service. (2022) Dehydration 
  4. Bode AM, Dong Z. (2011) The Amazing and Mighty Ginger.
  5. Scotland's National Health Information Service (2023) Hydration
  6. National Health Service UK (2022) Urinary tract infections (UTIs) 
  7. National Health Service UK (2021) Symptoms-Kidney infection
  8. Scotland's National Health Information Service (2023) Urinary tract infection (UTI)