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Can a Urinary Tract Infection Delay Your Period?

Do urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect your periods? – This is a commonly asked question with a simple answer. Theoretically, it is possible for a UTI to cause you to have a late period. Illnesses and infections can delay ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovaries), and this can make your period come later than expected.

In general, most women who have a urinary tract infection do not have missed periods, or a late period.

There are many reasons why a woman may have a delayed period, or a missed period, but a common urinary tract infection shouldn’t cause any menstrual cycle irregularities. The most common reasons you’ve missed your period, or had delayed menstruation include stress, anxiety, or depression; a recent illness that has upset your regular hormonal balance; vigorous exercise or dieting that has caused you to lose too much weight all at once.

If you have missed your period three months in a row (and you’ve ruled out pregnancy), you need to contact your healthcare provider.

What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection is what it sounds like. It’s an infection that affects your urinary tract – the body’s draining system that removes extra water and wastes from your body via urine. The urinary tract includes your two kidneys, your bladder, your two ureters, and the urethra.

Urinary Tract Infections

A majority of urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria. However, UTIs can also be caused by other microbes (tiny organisms that you need a microscope to see) – including germs, fungi, and viruses.

Most of the time, when the bacterium enters a woman’s urinary tract, it is quickly removed when you urinate, so you never experience any symptoms. However, when there is too much bacteria (or other microbes), it can overwhelm your body’s natural defense mechanisms and cause an infection.

Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections, compared to men, because they have shorter urethras that are closer to the anus. This is the reason that women are more likely to get UTIs are having sexual intercourse.

There are various types of urinary tract infections, depending on the area of the urinary tract that they affect. Common types of UTIs include:

  • Urethra Infection – If the UTI only affects the urethra (which is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside your body), it is called urethritis. Most women who have urethritis end up getting bladder infections.
  • Bladder Infection – Also called cystitis, this type of UTI occurs when bacteria (or other germs) enter through the urethra and travel to your bladder. If cystitis is not treated, the bacteria can travel up the ureters (tubes that funnels urine from the kidneys down to the bladder) and into the kidneys, causing an infection.
  • Kidney Infection – Also called pyelonephritis, kidney infections are the most severe type of UTIs. Severe kidney infections, or recurrent infections can sometimes cause permanent damage to your kidneys and even lead you to develop chronic kidney disease. In rare cases, pyelonephritis can spread to your bloodstream (a condition called sepsis).

Over 50 percent of all women will experience a urinary tract infection (abbreviated UTI) in their lifetime. UTIs aren’t fun, and they can cause you to experience a painful or burning sensation when you urinate. Other signs of a UTI include:

  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Urine that has a foul or bad odor
  • Pressure or cramping in your lower abdomen
  • The frequent and strong need to urinate
  • Low fever

Kidney Infections and Your Menstrual Cycle

In general, urinary tract infections usually do not affect your menstrual periods. Kidney infections are the most severe form of UTIs, and they can really run down your body. This, in turn, can cause delays in ovulation and late (or missed) periods.

When untreated, kidney infections can lead to sepsis – a serious illness that causes your bloodstream to be infected with bacteria. Sepsis can cause your blood pressure to drop, leading to shock. Sepsis can cause all your major organs – like your lungs, kidney, liver, and even central nervous system to stop functioning. Sepsis can also cause your reproductive systems to stop working, which will affect your menstrual cycle.

Urinary tract infections – including kidney infections – are usually treated with antibiotics. If you think you may have a UTI, please go see a healthcare provider for treatment.

To recap – urinary tract infections can potentially delay your period, since illnesses can burden your immune system and make it harder for your organs, like the ovaries, to properly do its job. Most of the time, however, UTIs will not delay your period.

Please consult your doctor if you are worried about UTIs and your period. Only your healthcare provider can give you medical advice on your particular situation.

About the author: DP Nguyen is founder and editor of Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies. She’s an expert pregnancy and women’s health blogger. She is NOT a medical doctor and does NOT offer medical advice. Connect with her on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

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{ 47 comments… add one }

  • Aimee December 1, 2014, 11:28 am

    Due to stress, didn’t realize and ignored symptoms of UTI. It led to a bladder infection. I self-treated with 100% Cranberry Juice (32 oz a day) and 2500-5000 mg of Vitamin C per day. My infection was gone in a few days. I continued treatment for a few more days to be sure the bacteria/virus was gone. Much safer and easier than antibiotics.

    Vitamin C and Cranberry creates an acidic environment in your bladder, which bacteria cannot strive in. Works faster than antibiotics and tastes good too.

  • Tera November 18, 2014, 7:11 am

    My period is two weeks late and three home pregnancy tests came back negative. Yesterday I went to dr. Office and it was negative for pregnancy but positive for another uti

    • Tera November 18, 2014, 7:14 am

      Can a terrible uti affect the result of a urine pregnancy test? I’ve had four negative urine test which includes one from dr office. Waiting on blood test now and hoping it’s not ectopic pregnancy.

  • ruby November 10, 2014, 6:42 am

    I didn’t finish my pills for my infection and its Ben months my period has not come can I be pregnet or can my infection be causing my period not coming or am I just pregnet

  • maria October 20, 2014, 7:07 am

    I think I have a uti, because I feel a severe burning sensation when I pee. Its been a week now and I am not taking any medication. I had unprotected sex a day after my menses ended last month and then again when I was expecting my period. But both the times he didn’t come inside me. Now my periods are a week late. Can I be pregnant? Please reply asap…Thankyou

  • Kaitlin September 4, 2014, 2:20 pm

    I just started a new birth control this past month, Lo Loestrin Fe, and am supposed to be on my period right about now but I now have a UTI. Is the UTI delaying my period or is it just because I’m on a new birth control?

  • suzy August 26, 2014, 6:18 pm

    Hi, I’m 19 days late. Been having cramps and back pain for 3 weeks now. Feeling pressure on my bladder feel bloated but I’ve taken a peg test twice but it’s negative.

  • Ana August 26, 2014, 3:00 pm

    i have a uti since thursday, i’ve been having on and off bleeding since that day. i got put on antibiotics for the uti, friday i noticed my bleeding got darker to like a medium red with yellow pee when i wipe, i thought it was my period due to it coming on tuesday (today) so i put on a pad but the next morning my pad was clear. the blood will go from medium red to light pink. since friday i dont know if its my period or the uti causing this. also my pee has been dark yellow to red/orange yellow. when i get my period its heavy and the blood seems fresh (sorry tmi) also my blood will turn dark red when on my period. so could this be my period or the uti/antibiotics causing this?

  • erica August 7, 2014, 5:24 pm

    Hey I haven’t had a me natural since 6/12/2014 and I went to the doctor on the 08/01 and my pt shows negative but I have a uti will that affect my menstural for that long of a time

  • jasmine July 16, 2014, 1:23 pm

    I’m a few days late for my period I been cramping pain in lower back and lower pain under my stomach back and forward to the rest room every 10 minutes wat could that means

    • DP Nguyen July 17, 2014, 11:15 pm

      It could be a lot of things, but take a pregnancy test

  • Ny April 16, 2014, 11:46 am

    I was recently treated for a UTI and I took all my medication. It’s gone now but right before I started taking the medicine I had protected sex with my boyfriend. Maybe about 3 weeks ago and again yesterday, also protected. Now I am 3 days late on my period. Should I be worried? Or did the medicine delay my menstrual?

    • DP Nguyen April 22, 2014, 9:19 pm

      If you had protected sex, I wouldn’t be too worried. However, take a home pregnancy test just to be sure.

  • sue April 11, 2014, 9:21 pm

    I had severe kidneys stones and a kidney infection February of 2013. I went to hospital and had an IV /a shot for pain.. I was given antibiotics but didn’t finish taking them all on accident. Then around late February/ early march of 2014. I happen to get a bad kidney infection again. I took my own antibiotics and pain meds instead of going to the doctor. I felt Completely better in about 5 day . But now it is mid-april and I haven’t had my period since January. I would have had it late February when I had the infection. So this is my 3rd month and I’m waiting to see if I’m gonna miss my 3rd period. Oh did I mention I’m on 17…. Is there ANY WAY it could he late from the infection. Me and my boyfriend of 2 years are scared and Its hard to buy a test when none of our family or friends is standing right there with us.. please let me know your thoughts on this ASAP

  • CHARITY February 3, 2014, 11:00 pm

    ive been having nauseous feeling, cramping, frequent urination but not alot at one time. im not sure if its a uti or if im pregnant. i took a test but it was negative, but im eight days late for my menstrual cycle. i had sex around the time i should be ovulating. i just started having sex and he uses protection. could it be a UTI that is causing my late period? please help

  • katie December 28, 2013, 9:29 am

    Hi I had a water infection last month now again this month I am two weeks late but feel pregnant around my nipples has gone darker heartburn all the time and slight morning sickness on a evening cnt wear anything tight on my stomach all signs I’ve had with my other children I’ve had loads of water infections and they have never stopped my period I’ve done 6 tests 3 at the docs and all neg am so confused :( plz help

  • Amber October 2, 2013, 1:34 am

    I have a UTI, but dont have money for a doctor, nor a doctor for that matter. Im kinda scared due to letting a UTI go before and having it affect my blood. Now Im 2 days late. IDK what to do

    • DP Nguyen October 3, 2013, 8:52 pm

      You need to get your UTI treated so that it doesn’t spread to your kidneys. Kidney infections are serious business. So you need to go see a doctor or go to a walk-in clinic, or urgent care. You need antibiotics to stop the UTI from spreading! I know it’s expensive but your health is important!

  • Rachel September 13, 2013, 3:13 pm

    I had a uti like 3 wks ago dr gave me antibiotics, I took it for 7 days and didnt finish the pills. Now I’m on my period and whenever I go pee it hurts. Can it be possible for the uti to come back?

    • DP Nguyen September 16, 2013, 1:09 am

      If you didn’t finish the pills, there is a good chance that it came back. Given your symptoms, I do think that the UTI has come back. I would go back to the doctor and get more antibiotics. It is very important that you finish each round of antibiotics so that it kills everything. Even if you are feeling better, you should finish all the antibiotics next time. Good luck!

  • What Does Kidney Pain Feel Like June 23, 2013, 11:06 am

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS.
    I don’t understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS issues? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  • penelope May 16, 2013, 3:23 am

    I had unprotected sex with my bf on d 21st,22nd nd 23rd of my menstrual cycle but he didn’t cum inside of me.I’m supposed to see my period on the 14th to 17th of May and this is already 16th yet nothing..could I be pregnant?_please reply me soonest

    • shehrish June 8, 2014, 4:42 am

      yes u can be pregnant…
      u.should check..

      • shehrish June 8, 2014, 4:51 am

        because I had also the same condition….n I was pregnant dear

  • besök sidan May 8, 2013, 3:34 am

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  • Alaiah April 14, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Lady Soma cranberry Supplement works great if you have a bladder infection. I got it and took two a day for a few days and mine was relieved quite a bit. Now keep in mind, I have then pretty regularly, so that’s why I took two a day .

    If you are healthy and have an occasional urinary tract infection , this might be the ticket.
    Cheers :-)

  • k March 30, 2013, 2:13 pm

    hello am having a UTI for now some days nw like 3 days and am late for my period for like 6 days now .. i have been havin sexual intercourse for now 1 month and i even did 2 pregnancy tests as precaution both -ve .. this is not the first time am havin a UTI .. is my period late because of the UTI or havin sexual relationshp?

  • let March 27, 2013, 9:20 am

    i have spotting during my uti is this symptoms of pregnancy?

  • Lelanda Cole March 21, 2013, 12:03 am

    Have a uti and was treated a week ago I finish the pills in 3 days but I feel bloat3d am I pregnant

  • Natasha March 15, 2013, 2:12 am

    hi. a month ago a day just afta my menses i was diagnised with a kidney uti tht was so servere.i also had malaria n ulcers. i was treated wth antibiotics for th uti as wel as malaria drugs n omed drugs for the acidity below my diafram.i alsl had sex a week to my expected menses.
    i always hav my periods afta 28days and thy neva skip a day for th past 9years. it is since 4days n hav not seen them.
    im nervours.cld it b coz of th drugs tho medicin has neva affected my cycle nor weather nor sicknes.?
    or cld it b bcz th uti had spread over my kidneys? plz help cz im sick tensed scared n nervos.

  • Joanna February 25, 2013, 9:39 pm

    I have recently got the the hospital because I had a fever, chest pains, back pain, fatigue, and no appetite. I found out that I have a UTI, my period is 6 weeks late and there is no way I am pregnant. I am currently on antibiotics for my UTI, should I expect my period soon or is it more likely that my period will be back after I finish my antibiotics?

  • Lucy February 18, 2013, 3:33 pm

    for the lAst couple of dys ive. Had. A horrible pains on the left side of my stomache and i looked at the symptoms and I do have all the symptoms but not fever and also my periods came two weeks early than normal. When I’m asleep I find it hard to get comfy and need to get up every ten minutes to go for the toilet. Ive vometed a few times. I’ve already been to the doctor and they didn’t know what it was and just gave me paracetamol but hasn’t worked but if you could help me then that would be great thanks.

    • DP Nguyen February 22, 2013, 11:18 am

      I would go back to the doctor and ask them to dig deeper, to figure out what is causing your pain and discomfort.

  • kristy February 17, 2013, 11:06 am

    I had a urinary track infection that was left untreated for awhile, due to not sure if that was what the problem was. My advise is too please do not never wait! If you suspect you have a UTI, go get medical attention asap. Once it goes untreated, the pain, nausea and vomiting is unbearable.

    • Amber October 2, 2013, 1:31 am

      Agreed, was in the hospital for a few days with the same problems, my problem now is i have no money for a doctor

  • Melissa January 29, 2013, 9:51 pm

    So I got a uti this past Saturday and got my period the nxt day normal flow and today is my third day and nothing? I didn’t go to the doctors I just drank a lot of water and well started peeing normally but was jw if the uti made my period shorter than normal if u can let me know cause I’ve had uti’s in the past and don’t remember it ever affecting my periods. Thanks

  • sheila January 12, 2013, 1:28 am

    sheila hi i have a u.t.i and i missed one of my period..i got sex a week before my period at that time 3 weeks after i take pregnacy test but it is negative.. after a week on taking the test, i take the test again but it is still negative??? what should i do?

    pls dont post my fullname tnx..can you leave me a private message if you are going my question tnx alot

  • courtney December 30, 2012, 1:03 am

    I have been diagnosed with a UTI. I went to the doctor, not thinking anything about the possibility of being pregnant. I was put on antibiotics, but then was switched due to having E-Coli bacteria. Then, I noticed I am a week or two late on my period. I don’t have any signs or symptoms of my period nor pregnancy. the only things I notice a slight difference in is I am having terrible headaches and slight bloating in abdomen. should I take a pregnancy test? or is it just the UTI effecting my cycle?
    please respond ASAP

  • thembi December 3, 2012, 10:48 pm

    i have missed my period i took a home pregnancy test and the results were negative what could b the problem please reply quickly

  • heather October 31, 2012, 11:42 pm

    i ‘m on birth control I had all the symptoms except fever.. And I thought I was pregnant but neg on both urine and blood tests. But my period still didn’t come. Can uti’s still affect your period when on birth control? Bc I have had really bad cases of tonsilitis with high fever and my period was still normal.

  • Ashley October 21, 2012, 9:58 pm

    I recently just finished my UTI antibiotics and my eperiod is almost a week and a half late.It was a pretty bad UTI, would this cause my period to be delayed? Im having all the side effects of a period except the bleeding.

    • DP Nguyen October 21, 2012, 11:02 pm

      Yeah, it is definitely possible that your UTI delayed your period. Some women with UTIs don’t experience any late periods, but some do. Just being sick can mess up your cycle by a few days. If you are having all the side effects of a period, it’s probable that your period will soon come. When in doubt, take a home pregnancy test.

  • maya joe September 9, 2012, 11:04 pm

    i do have the have the urinary tract infections, and my period is late :((
    what should i do pllllllllllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssseeeeeeeee answer me as quick as possible, its been late for months and half i think!
    but please answer me if you know

    • DP Nguyen September 12, 2012, 12:20 am

      Go see a doctor to get an accurate answer in your individual case.

  • Dory April 6, 2012, 5:09 am

    Just want to know when do i get pregrant after treating stappl,UTI,Candid

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