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UTIs in the Elderly

Urinary tract infections increase dramatically as we age, both in frequency and severity and in both women and men. In addition to having unusual symptoms, UTIs in older adults can be recurring and dangerous, leading to hospitalizations and cycles of antibiotics.

Preventing UTIs before they start is even more important in the elderly. As we age, we should be more conscious of consuming antibiotics. If antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop, Urinary Tract Infections, as well as other infections, can be very difficult to treat and can even result in death.

Bladder infection v UTI
+ UTI prevention in the elderly
It is very important that antibiotics be used sparingly in the elderly. Unfortunately, once a UTI develops, antibiotics are the only cure and form of treatment and must be used to stop the infection from spreading. More and more, doctors are becoming more careful about treating UTIs too quickly with antibiotics if symptoms do not develop. Of course, it is necessary to be on the lookout for UTI symptoms and be aware that a sudden change in behavior could be the only indicator.

Prevention is more important than ever, especially in the elderly. Below are actions that can be taken to the risk of a UTI.

Maintain good hygiene: If an individual is incontinent, frequent changing should be a habit to stay dry. If the individual is wheelchair bound, showering daily can help maintain cleanliness. Maintaining good hygiene is the simplest practice of working to avoid UTIs.
Eat healthily: Maintaining optimal immune function starts with eating a well-balanced diet that is high in protein and vitamins.
Use Uqora daily: Uqora’s preventive solution comes in two forms; Uqora Target and Uqora Control.  While Target is a uti prevention drink-mix which uses a multi-layered approach to flush out bacteria, our Control is a uti prevention capsule to take daily and provide a bacterial defense before UTIs can start.  Both Uqora Target and Uqora Control are natural, safe and the safest uti prevention for beloved elderly people.   
+ UTI and dementia

There are new UTI symptoms that come up in the elderly that you would not expect. These symptoms include confusion, agitation, and a loss of balance that leads to falls. These symptoms can be hard to identify as a UTI, and can often be confused with symptoms of dementia. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that an elderly patient is misdiagnosed with dementia while they have a UTI, and when it is treated, behavior returns to normal. Changes in mobility with a UTI can also be dangerous, as decreased balance can lead to an increase in the risk of physical injury.

If a parent or an elderly person you know is displaying dementia symptoms like confusion, irrational behavior, or agitation and have not previously been diagnosed with dementia, a urine culture may be able to tell if this is due to a UTI.

If the individual has an existing memory impairment, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, a UTI may still lead to a sudden change in behavior like increased agitation, confusion, or withdrawal. This may be particularly difficult to identify as the individual may already be withdrawn, or may have difficulty communicating.

+ UTI symptoms in men
UTIs are relatively uncommon in younger men, but as men age UTIs become much more common. There are certain risk factors that are unique to aging men.

Kidney or bladder stones – Blockages of the urinary tract can increase the risk for UTIs by altering the flow of urine and allowing for increased growth of bacteria. While both men and women can develop kidney/ bladder stones, they are more common in men than women. An enlarged prostate – Similarly, an enlarged prostate can push against the urethra, restricting the flow of urine. The force of urine pushing bacteria out of the urethra is one of the main defenses against colonizing bacteria.
+ Symptoms of UTIs in the elderly
UTIs in seniors can be difficult to identify, as they may not be accompanied by the classic symptoms of UTIs in younger adults. Symptoms like burning during urination, frequent urination, difficulty urinating, and fever may not develop early on. Due to this, these infections can go unnoticed and spread to the kidneys, which can lead to serious fever and illness, requiring hospitalization. If this goes untreated, the infection can spread to the blood and be life-threatening.

When only looking at the classic symptoms, these asymptomatic UTIs may only get noticed if a urine culture shows there are bacteria in the urine. Studies indicate that 15-20% of women over 65 and up to 50% of women aged 80 and above have bacteriuria, or bacteria in the urine, and are at very high risk of a UTI. However, it isn’t practical to constantly be testing urine cultures, and many will recommend not treating bacteriuria if there are no symptoms.
+ UTIs and confusion
When older adults get UTIs, their symptoms might not appear like the symptoms often associated with UTIs (frequent urination, urgency with urination, bladder pain), but instead might appear as delirium or confusion. If you notice a big change in lucidity in yourself or someone you care for, consult a physician—confusion can be a symptom of a UTI.

Prevent UTIs in the elderly with Uqora

Try Uqora—the effective way to prevent UTIs.  Drink Uqora Target to flush out UTI-causing bacteria.  Take Uqora Control daily to break down biofilm, which can cause recurring UTIs.

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"My Mom is always getting UTIs. So, I heard the radio commercial and ordered her some - she's blown away and we now have a subscription! So much better than antibiotics and doctors visits. Life changing!!"
-Brooke B., Uqora customer

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Preventing UTIs in Elderly People

Urinary Tract Infections increase dramatically as we age, both in frequency and severity, and in both women and men. In addition to having unusual symptoms, UTIs in older adults can be recurring and dangerous, leading to hospitalizations and cycles of antibiotics

Preventing UTIs before they start is even more important in the elderly. As we age, we should be more conscious of consuming antibiotics. If antibiotic resistant bacteria develop, Urinary Tract Infections, as well as other infections, can be very difficult to treat and can even result in death.

How to Identify a UTI in an Older Adult

UTIs in seniors can be difficult to identify, as they may not be accompanied by the classic symptoms of UTIs in younger adults. Symptoms like burning during urination, frequent urination, difficulty urinating, and fever may not develop early on. Due to this, these infections can go unnoticed and spread to the kidneys, which can lead to serious fever and illness, requiring hospitalization. If this goes untreated, the infection can spread to the blood and be life-threatening.

When only looking at the classic symptoms, these asymptomatic UTIs may only get noticed if a urine culture shows there are bacteria in the urine. Studies indicate that 15-20% of women over 65 and up to 50% of women aged 80 and above have bacteriuria, or bacteria in the urine, and are at very high risk of a UTI. However, it isn’t practical to constantly be testing urine cultures, and many will recommend not treating bacteriuria if there are no symptoms.

UTIs and Dementia?

There are new UTI symptoms that come up in the elderly that you would not expect. These symptoms include confusion, agitation, and a loss of balance that leads to falls. These symptoms can be hard to identify as a UTI, and can often be confused with symptoms of dementia. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that an elderly patient is misdiagnosed with dementia while they have a UTI, and when it is treated, behavior returns to normal. Changes in mobility with a UTI can also be dangerous, as decreased balance can lead to an increase in risk of physical injury.

If a parent or elderly person you know is displaying dementia symptoms like confusion, irrational behavior, or agitation and have not previously been diagnosed with dementia, a urine culture may be able to tell if this is due to a UTI.

If the individual has an existing memory impairment, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, a UTI may still lead to a sudden change in behavior like increased agitation, confusion, or withdrawal. This may be particularly difficult to identify as the individual may already be withdrawn, or may have difficulty communicating. Learn more about UTIs in those with existing memory impairments here.

What causes UTIs in the elderly?

In addition to new symptoms, there are also new general causes of UTIs that are unique to aging adults, making them more common.

Incontinence – Urinary incontinence is a common problem among the elderly and may be a risk factor for UTIs. As urine leaks out of the bladder, it can provide an environment for bacteria to grow and then travel up into the urinary tract.

Hormones – In women, menopause leads to a slowed production of estrogen. Estrogen has been shown to protect the vagina and urethra from bacterial growth. As production decreases, E. coli and other bacteria may be able to more easily establish themselves.

Mobility – As we age, we may become less mobile, with many elderly and nursing home residents wheelchair bound. If an individual requires assistance to shower, this may lead to a decrease in shower frequency, leading to increased UTI risk.

What conditions are risk factors for UTIs in older adults?

If an elderly individual has a specific condition, this may lead to an increase in UTIs. Below, are some of these conditions:

Dementia – Having dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can decrease one’s ability to communicate symptoms and can also make maintaining good general hygiene more difficult as extra care is require.

Diabetes – Diabetes can decrease one’s immune system, making it more difficult to fight an infection. In addition, diabetes can lead to nerve damage. Nerve damage in the bladder can decrease bladder control and increase incontinence. If poorly managed, those with diabetes can have high amounts of sugar in the urine, which bacteria can eat to grow.

Catheter use – For various reasons, it may be necessary to have chronic or occasional catheter use in older adults. If so, this is a major risk factor for Urinary Tract Infections, as new bacteria can be introduced and bacteria can establish protective biofilms on the indwelling catheters.

Risk factors for UTIs in elderly men

UTIs are relatively uncommon in younger men, but as men age UTIs become much more common. There are certain risk factors that are unique to aging men.

Kidney or bladder stones – Blockages of the urinary tract can increase risk for UTIs by altering the flow of urine and allowing for increases growth of bacteria. While both men and women can develop kidney/ bladder stones, they are more common in men than women.

An enlarged prostate – Similarly, an enlarged prostate can push against the urethra, restricting the flow of urine. The force of urine pushing bacteria out of the urethra is one of the main defenses against colonizing bacteria.

What can I do for UTI Prevention?

It is very important that antibiotics be used sparingly in the elderly. Unfortunately, once a UTI develops, antibiotics are the only cure and form of treatment, and must be used to stop the infection from spreading. More and more, doctors are becoming more careful about treating UTIs too quickly with antibiotics if symptoms do not develop. Of course, it is necessary to be on the lookout for UTI symptoms and be aware that a sudden change in behavior could be the only indicator.

Prevention is more important than ever, especially in the elderly. Below are actions that can be taken to the risk of a UTI.

Maintain good hygiene – If an individual is incontinent, frequent changing should be a habit to stay dry. If the individual is wheelchair bound, showering daily can help maintain cleanliness. Maintaining good hygiene is the simplest practice to working to avoid UTIs.

Eat healthy – Maintaining optimal immune function starts with eating a well-balanced diet that is high in protein and vitamins.

Drink Uqora daily – Uqora’s preventive drink-mix uses a multi-layered approach to flush out bacteria before they can establish an infection, and research shows a 75% reduction in UTI incidence when taken daily. You can order Uqora here.

Why Cranberry Use is Declining

Contrary to popular belief, cranberry products have been shown to not have benefit in reducing the risk of UTIs. While they will not cause harm, and may increase hydration, the American Medical Association has recently declared cranberry juices and extracts to not have an impact on urinary tract infection prevention. With this old wives tale proven false, doctors and caretakers are quickly moving away from cranberry products.

Senior Citizens are More Prone to Infection

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.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections in the elderly and in nursing homes

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:

  1. Confusion
  2. Loss of coordination
  3. Dizziness
  4. Falling more easily
  5. Lethargy
  6. 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:

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

Always feel free to contact usif you'd like to learn more about how you can help an elderly person in your life prevent their next urinary tract infection, and make sure to read our reviews to see how adult children are preventing UTIs for their aging parents.



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