How to recognize and prevent repeat UTIs in the elderly

June 30, 2017 Kaitlyn Matousek

Prevent UTIs in elderly

Seniors are more prone to UTIs than any other age group. Recognize the symptoms and learn what you can do to avoid repeat UTIs in you or your loved ones.

With age comes lifetime full of laughter, dedication and hard work, and a certain confidence only attained through years of experience. Unfortunately, as we age, our body chemistry also changes and our immune system strains to give us the defense we’ve always enjoyed. As our immune system weakens, our bodies become more susceptible to infections. UTIs are no exception. Seniors are more prone to UTIs than any other age group.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also be caused by certain health conditions that are more prevalent in the seniors. Diabetes, catheter usage, inability to fully empty your bladder or bowels, immobility, surgery, kidney stones, and a lack of estrogen in women who have gone through menopause all increase chances of developing UTIs.

Typical UTI symptoms like burning while urinating and frequent need to use the bathroom do not appear in seniors. According to AgingCare.com, elderly people experiencing UTIs will present different symptoms, like those often associated with memory loss:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Falling more easily
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite

Because these symptoms can be common among this group already, it is important to pay close attention to physical and mental wellbeing. Any sudden behavioral changes can indicate a UTI.

Good communication and careful observation are imperative because some people might not feel comfortable speaking up about symptoms of discomfort to caregivers or loved ones. Plus, misdiagnosing a UTI as a great mental health issue like dementia can exacerbate things, leaving the person more confused than before and postponing their treatment of the actual issue.

Small steps can make all of the difference in preventing UTIs:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Keep your genital area clean by washing regularly with nonscented soap
  • Always wipe front to back
  • Wear loose, breathable cotton underwear
  • Change your underwear every day for a fresh clean pair, or adult pads or diapers if that is relevant
  • Try Uqora to flush out bacteria and provide another form of hydration

 



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