In elderly it isn't uncommon for urinary tract infections or bladder infections to occur. Because elders often have a weakened immune system, they are more susceptible to getting a UTI.
Bladder infections are not just annoying, they also pose some serious potential health risks.
Warning Signs of UTIs
Specifically in elderly there are some lesser know signs that might be a result of a urinary tract infection. These warning signs, however, might also be caused by other medical issues.
- Dementia-like behavior
- Other unusual behavioral changes
Some common symptoms of urinary tract infections include:
- Low-grade fever
- Pain or burning during urination
- Night sweats, shaking or chills
- Bloody urine
- Strong or foul-smelling urine
- Pressure in lower pelvis
- Frequent urge to urinate
Causes of Bladder Infections
Bladder infections could be provoked by a number of conditions or factors, but bladder infections are caused by bacteria that enters the bladder. E. coli is usually the kind of bacteria that causes UTIs and are normally not a problem. The infection and problem begins when the bacteria get into the urethra and travel to the bladder.
Bladder Infections in Females vs Males.
Because bacteria can more easily reach the bladder in women, women are more prone to get bladder infections. For men it is more difficult to contract a UTI, than for women for basic anatomy reasons. However that doesn't mean it can't happen. Everyone should keep good hygiene and stay hydrated to help lower the risk of UTIs.
Bladder Infections in Elderly
As we age our immune systems weaken and sometimes health problems arise. This makes contracting a UTI much easier in old age. Conditions in elderly that increase risk of UTIs include:
- Urinary incontinence
- Kidney stones
- Urine retention (not being able to full empty the bladder)
- Use of urinary catheters
- Surgery near bladder
- Enlarged prostate
Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis
Bladder infections are sometimes difficult to diagnose in elders because of uncommon symptoms that might occur. If a bladder infection is suspected, the easiest way to get a diagnosis is to go to the doctor's and have a urinalysis done.
With a simple urine culture a doctor is able to tell whether you have an infection or not, what kind of bacteria caused your UTI and what antibiotic should be used to treat it.
In order to treat urinary tract infections, most doctors often prescribe antibiotics that will help to get rid of your bladder infection.
Amoxicillin and nitrofurantoin are the most common antibiotics that are prescribed to treat a UTI.
With an antibiotic if you start them as soon as you can and take them as prescribed your bladder infection should be gone in a few days. If you decide to stop taking your antibiotics it increases the chance of antibiotic resistance.
It's not realistic to prevent all urinary tract infections from happening but there are precautions and things you can do to help reduce the risk of getting one.
Drinking plenty of water is one way to help lessen the risk of UTI. This is because more water in your system prompts more trips to the restroom, flushing out the bacteria.
Changing incontinence pads often and keeping good hygiene is crucial to helping prevent bladder infections.
To catch a bladder infection early or prevent it all together, looking for signs and taking the steps of good hygiene is the first way to go.