Karen McPhail, RN, MSN
Could It Be a UTI?
Urinary Tract Infection's (UTI's) are a common problem for many, especially seniors. Some older individuals are more prone to these types of infections due to a variety of reasons: a weakened immune system, diabetes, a sedentary life style, weaken pelvic floor or bladder muscles, hygiene difficulties, recent illness, catheter use, a lack of estrogen in women, prostate issues in men, and difficulties with bladder emptying, retention, and incontinence. These issues can all lead to bacterial growth that causes bladder infections.
It is therefore important for older individuals and their caregivers to be on the watch for the signs and symptoms of a UTI:
Urine with a strong odor
Frequent urination or sudden incontinence
Burning pain when urinating
Low grade fever
Lower back aching or pain
Pelvic pressure or pain
UTI's can lead to significant behavioral issues in the elderly! This is especially prevalent in those with an existing cognitive impairment. So, if your loved one suddenly appears confused or has a sudden behavioral change seek medical attention and evaluation for a UTI.
These symptoms will slowly subside after treatment.
It is always important to have prompt evaluation and medical treatment if a UTI is suspected as it can lead to other medical issues such a kidney infection, kidney failure or an infection in the blood stream- sepsis.
Usually, UTI antibiotic treatment is for approximately seven days. Most people begin to feel better within two days however. Always finish the full course of any antibiotic to ensure that the infection has been completely treated and resolved.