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Don’t rule out a UTI as the cause behind felling tired and unwell, but that shouldn’t be the only consideration when dealing with these symptoms.

Many diseases, ailments, and conditions can lead to a general feeling of being tired and unwell, fatigued and drained. Especially if a person is experiencing chronic fatigue, it’s important to take a look at the overall bigger picture and try to determine the underlying cause, since some such causes left untreated can lead to extreme complications to health.

While a lot of people don’t realize it, a UTI can cause these general feelings of being exhausted or sick. How can you tell if the symptoms are due to a UTI or some other condition?

Diagnosing a UTI

A urinary tract infection is caused by the entrance of bacteria through the urethra into the bladder, urinary tract, or even the kidneys. The infection, like other bacterial infections, can have a number of symptoms. Usually, a patient experiences:

  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Frequent and urgent need to urinate
  • Feelings of pressure or fullness in the bladder, even after voiding urine
  • Lower back, flank, or abdominal pain
  • Low grade fever

What a patient may not notice is that, like other bacterial infections, the body responds to the breach by increasing the immune system’s output of antibodies. This can leave a person feeling drained and tired, and it can cause an overall sensation of being “unwell”. In addition, because the patient is often getting up and down to urinate through the night, or experiencing pain at night, sleep is disturbed, exacerbating the feeling of fatigue.

However, most UTIs come with the entire list of symptoms, or at least a few of them, that point to the infection as the cause of the fatigue. When these symptoms aren’t present, it’s important to evaluate and contact a physician in order to discover what might be the problem in order to resolve it.

What else causes feeling tired and unwell?

Not surprisingly, because the immune system is involved, any infection in the body – bacteria, viral, or fungal – can lead to fatigue. It’s not uncommon to feel the need to rest and sleep when fighting off some other communicable ailment. In fact, fatigue is a well recognized symptom of the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, flu, and even more disturbing diseases.

Most of these are cured through antibiotics and rest. But when there is another underlying condition, it could be important to take further steps.
  • Thyroid disease. More than 10 million Americans and about one in ten women suffer from low thyroid function, which leads to weight gain, hair loss, and general fatigue that could be mild or extreme.
  • Depression. The chemical imbalance in the brain can lead to difficulty finding energy, and the overall mood could psychologically decrease strength, both of which exacerbate the feeling of fatigue.
  • Sleep disorder. Studies show that, on average, people need at least six hours of sleep and, ideally, seven to eight hours. An individual may not even realize they are coping with a sleep disorder but should consult a physician if feeling fatigued to determine if perhaps they are victims of sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, or other sleep issues.
  • Food allergy or intolerance. Sometimes, a food allergy or intolerance doesn’t show up as a rash or swelling. Instead, the body may be taxing itself, trying to process the food without being symptomatic. This is often the case in the beginning stages of celiac disease, which will eventually lead to bloating, pain, and nausea. However, in the beginning, it could just result in extreme fatigue.
  • Too much caffeine. In moderation, caffeine helps increase energy levels, making it easier to function. However, when consumed in extreme quantities, caffeine can cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and even fatigue.
  • Other diseases. Heart disease and diabetes are often culprits behind feelings of tiredness and being unwell, especially if they are not under strict control.
  • Stress. Too much stress can be more detrimental to the body than physical exertion, leading to extreme fatigue, sometimes to the point it’s almost impossible to function.
  • Workplace issues. If a patient works a swing shift, gets burnout, or experiences unemployment, these could all lead to feeling unwell and exhausted.

Symptoms of fatigue

There are a number of ways fatigue can express itself in daily life that go beyond feeling sleepy. That general sense of being tired and unwell also manifests as:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness and soreness, as well as slowed reflexes
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Loss of hand-eye coordination, as well as difficulty with all coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of appetite, or in some cases, ravenous appetite
  • Poor concentration and impaired judgment
  • Difficulty with short term memory and cognition
  • Compromised immune system functionality
  • Low motivation
  • Short attention span
  • Hallucinations

How to treat tiredness and feeling unwell

Because these are symptoms rather than ailments, treating fatigue requires some tests and determinations to diagnose the underlying cause, which can then be treated. While a patient can ward off some symptoms by taking supplements like a vitamin B complex to assist in boosting energy or vitamin C for increased immune system function, it’s necessary to treat the actually condition so that the symptoms don’t recur.

If the problem is caused by a UTI, antibiotics will assist in clearing up the infection so that the body can recover and function normally. With other factors, there may be a difference solution. For example, medications are available to assist with sleep issues like insomnia. If a food intolerance or allergy is to blame, a dietary change may be required in order to relieve symptoms of fatigue. Thyroid disease can also be treated with medication.

Depression may require several steps to help reduce the effects of the mental condition. Medication may improve the chemical imbalance, and therapy can help improve the capability of a patient to understand and cope with depression.


Don’t rule out a UTI as the cause behind felling tired and unwell, but that shouldn’t be the only consideration when dealing with these symptoms.

Because psychological disorders like depression can be very dangerous to someone’s health and might even cause suicidal tendencies, it’s important to address fatigue and any factors that could be involved in creating such a pattern that disrupts a normal lifestyle. Seeing a physician can help narrow down the potential causes and find a diagnosis that can then be treated fairly and accurately so everything surrounding the condition improves and leads to a happier life.

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