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Merck Manual

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Overview of Urinary Tract Symptoms


Anuja P. Shah

, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Last full review/revision Sep 2019| Content last modified Sep 2019
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Kidney and urinary tract disorders can involve one or both kidneys, one or both ureters, the bladder, or the urethra, and in men, the prostate, one or both testes, or the epididymis. Problems with the male reproductive system often manifest as persistent erection, scrotal pain, scrotal swelling, or blood in the semen.

Some urinary tract disorders rarely cause symptoms until the problem is very advanced. These include

Sometimes, symptoms occur but are very general or vague and are not always obviously related to the kidneys. For example, a general feeling of illness (malaise), loss of appetite, or nausea may be the only symptoms of advanced kidney failure. In older people, mental confusion may be the first recognized symptom of infection or kidney failure.

Symptoms that are more suggestive of a kidney or urinary problem include

Incontinence is an uncontrollable loss of urine, which can have a variety of causes.

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