UTIs Can Be Life Threatening in Elderly

By Michelle Cemental

Seniors experience a wide range of health problems, but a commonly overlooked issue is a UTI (urinary tract infection). While this condition is easily treated, it can be extremely painful. Learn more about how to identify and treat a UTI to help your senior loved one. 

UTI Basics

UTIs are caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract. The bacteria moves up through the tract infecting the bladder. UTIs are more commonly found in our aging population. Seniors are more susceptible to UTIs as a result of a weakened immune system, diabetes, or inability to empty bladder as a result of weakened bladder muscles. In addition, bowel incontinence, immobility, an enlarged prostate, or kidney stones can also lead to UTIs

A UTI can cause serious health problems. If left untreated, UTIs can lead to kidney damage, or sepsis which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of a UTI

The following symptoms may indicate a UTI.

  • Blood in your urine

  • Frequent need to use restroom

  • Cloudy urine

  • Irritation (usually pain or burning) with urination

  • Strong or foul smelling urine

  • Possible low-grade fever

  • Pressure or cramping in lower abdomen or back

  • Night sweats, chills or shaking

If you notice think your aging loved one might have a urinary tract infection, consult your primary care physician for medical advice immediately.

A lower UTI is usually treated with antibiotic drugs. Over-the-counter pain relief may also be taken to relieve associated discomfort.

Preventing a UTI

To help reduce the chance of a UTI, there are several things you can do:

  • Change briefs frequently

  • Set reminders to use the bathroom instead of an adult brief if forgetfulness is an issue

  • Keep genital area clean

  • Drink lots of fluids

  • Drink cranberry juice or cranberry tablets

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they can irritate the bladder

We hope that these tips are helpful. If you or a loved one needs any extra assistance, reach out to our team of experts at a Caring location near you. It's our goal to help seniors remain healthy, happy, and at home.

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Tags: Senior Health