Learn All About Urinary Sepsis: Causes, Complications, Symptoms and Treatment

An untreated urinary tract infection can spread to the kidneys, causing more pain. It can also cause sepsis.

The term urinary sepsis is generally used to describe sepsis caused by a urinary tract infection. Sometimes called blood poisoning, sepsis is the often deadly response of the body to illness or injury. Sepsis kills millions of people and therefore requires rapid treatment for survival.

People should not die from a urinary tract infection, but if sepsis begins to take over and develop into severe sepsis and cause septic shock, this is precisely what can happen.

More than half of the cases of urinary sepsis in older adults are caused by a urinary tract infection. Worldwide, one-third of people who develop sepsis die.

Many of those who survive are left with life-changing effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, fatigue, organ dysfunction (not functioning correctly), and amputations.


Lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications when treated correctly. However, if it is not treated at the time, a urinary tract infection can have serious consequences.

Complications of a urinary tract infection can include:


  • Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic disease of the kidneys (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated urinary tract infection.
  • Increased risk in pregnant women causing the low birth weight of the baby or premature newborns.
  • There is a narrowing of the urethra (stenosis) in men from recurrent urethritis, previously seen with gonococcal urethritis.
  • Sepsis is a life-threatening complication of an infection, primarily if the disease works its way up to your urinary tract to the kidneys.

What are the symptoms of urinary sepsis?

Sepsis can start in different body parts; it can have various symptoms. Rapid breathing and a change in mental states, such as alertness or confusion, may be the first signs that sepsis is beginning. Other symptoms are:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fast pulse
  • Decreased urination
  • Fast breathing.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever and chills or a shallow body temperature.

General treatment in cases of sepsis of the urinary tract

Urinary sepsis is the most severe form of urinary tract infection. Therefore its management is significantly different from a superficial infection because, in addition, adjuvants, inotropic and ventilatory support antibacterial therapy, etc., are also required.

Immediate intervention must be done to meet the following objectives:

Hemodynamic support:

Adequate perfusion of the organs must be guaranteed. Hypotension should be managed with the administration of intravenous fluids, and the goal should be to maintain pulmonary pressure.

Respiratory support:

Ventilatory support should provide to patients with progressive hypoxemia, hypercapnia, alteration, or fatigue of the respiratory muscles.

Metabolic support:

Blood glucose levels should be maintained at less than 150 mg/dl for a few days before the sepsis.

Antimicrobial therapy:

Antimicrobial therapy should be initiated against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The choice must be reassessed once crop results are available, usually within 48 to 72 hours.

The maximum recommended doses of antibiotics should be administered intravenously with dose/interval dose modifications as necessary for renal and hepatic insufficiency.