Urinary tract infections (UTI) are the most frequent form of bacterial infection contracted by our loved ones. Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that UTI affects 20% of women and 10% of men who are older than 80. Our loved ones may also experience more extreme symptoms than younger adults, such as mental confusion, sudden changes in behavior, and agitation.
If it is left untreated, UTI can turn into a potentially life-threatening infection that can pose detrimental health problems, such as sepsis or permanent kidney damage. In this guide, we walk you through the signs, symptoms, and treatments of UTI in the elderly. Read on to find out more about this bacterial infection.
Symptoms of UTI
Our loves ones may experience typical symptoms just like anyone else who is suffering from UTI. However, they may not notice a mild infection immediately. This is because other chronic urinary problems such as incontinence may present similar symptoms as UTI, which masks the infection.
Typical symptoms of UTI include:
- Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
- Blood found in the urine
- Intense and frequent urge to urinate although there is little urine to pass
- Painful and burning sensation when urinating
- Feeling that his or her bladder is not completely emptied
- Blood in the urine
Symptoms of a more severe infection can include:
- Feeling pain in lower abdomen or back
- Chills or sweats at night
- Vomiting and nausea
Treatments of UTI
If you suspect that your loved ones may be suffering from UTI, visit the doctor immediately to prevent further complications. Visiting an urgent care clinic is another viable alternative if you are not able to book an appointment with your primary care physician quickly enough. Urine culture and/or urinalysis are usually required to diagnose a patient with UTI. This way, the doctor can determine the type of bacteria present in the patient’s urine and choose the most suitable antibiotic for treatment. If treated early, consuming antibiotics alone typically clears UTI in a short time.
However, do remember that our loved ones are also prone to a similar condition called asymptomatic bacteriuria. This condition is characterized by the presence of bacteria in the urine but the absence of symptoms or signs of UTI. It is estimated that more than 15% of men and women between the age of 65 and 80 suffer from asymptomatic bacteriuria.
Research states that as most patients suffering from asymptomatic bacteriuria do not develop symptomatic UTI, antibiotic treatment will not be beneficial. On the contrary, the use of antibiotics may even cause adverse side effects such as Clostridium difficile infection and could further contribute to the development of resistant bacterias. The primary care physician will consider the patient’s test results and symptoms to distinguish between asymptomatic bacteriuria and UTI, and determine if treatment is necessary.
Senior Living Accommodations at Discovery Senior Living
Should your loved ones face frequent occurrences of UTI or find it a challenge to perform daily activities alone, Discovery Senior Living provides a multitude of senior living options your loved ones can live in and be cared for by our team of health professionals. They will retain their independence, yet have fun with their new friends!