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Resources To Combat Urinary Track Infection Cases In Seniors

by | May 1, 2024 | Caregivers Support, Caregiving, Healthcare & Rehabilitation, Services

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection in the elderly, mainly due to age-related risk factors like malnutrition, inadequately controlled diabetes mellitus, poor bladder control leading to urinary retention or incontinence, constipation, long-term hospitalizations, vaginal atrophy, prostate hyperplasia, unhygienic living conditions, and altered mental state. UTIs are responsible for around 25% of all geriatric hospitalizations attributing to almost 6.2% of deaths due to infectious diseases and repeated emergency department and office visits yearly. UTI usually presents with localized symptoms like painful urination, new onset or worsening urinary urgency or frequency, and suprapubic pain but symptoms of UTI are atypical in the elderly population. UTI manifests more atypically for this age group as delirium, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, falls, urinary incontinence, or poor appetite in the absence of fever making the diagnosis of UTI a difficult task as senior patients are unable to report their urinary symptoms clearly.

 

Common Symptoms Seniors Should Look Out For:

Urinary tract infections do not always have signs and symptoms, however when they appear, they may include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears pinkish — a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain (in women) — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

 

Recurring UTI Infections

Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) are typically characterized by experiencing more than two episodes within a six-month period or more than three episodes within a year, as confirmed by urine culture. UTIs may manifest as cystitis (affecting the bladder) or pyelonephritis (affecting the kidneys) and are categorized as either complicated or uncomplicated. Uncomplicated UTIs tend to occur sporadically in healthy individuals, whereas complicated UTIs are often linked to urinary tract abnormalities or underlying medical conditions, increasing the risk of infection or treatment ineffectiveness. For individuals experiencing recurrent UTIs, it is advisable to seek consultation with a family doctor or specialist.

 

Higher Risk for Older Women

UTIs can progress rapidly in older women, especially due to the fact that seniors may experience more severe symptoms. Because of this, they may require hospitalization for proper diagnosis and treatment. It is important to practice proper hygiene in order to mitigate hospital visits due to UTIs. Some tips include regular perineal care, wiping front to back after using the toilet, and avoiding irritating feminine products.

 

Treatment For UTI Cases

The primary treatment for UTIs involves antibiotic therapy to eliminate the bacterial infection. The choice of antibiotics depends on factors like symptom severity, patient age, and any underlying health conditions. It is important for patients to complete their full course of prescribed antibiotics to ensure complete eradication of the infection. Along with antibiotic treatment, increasing fluid intake is crucial in managing UTIs. Drinking an adequate amount of water and other fluids (around 3-4 liters per day) helps flush out bacteria from the urinary system while diluting urine, reducing pain and discomfort.

 

Singapore Government Hospitals Urology Centers

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) rank as the second most prevalent infection among older adults, often necessitating hospitalization for severe cases. Untreated UTIs pose significant risks, potentially resulting in kidney failure or fatalities. Educating older adults on bladder management techniques and ensuring adequate fluid intake can serve as preventive measures against UTIs. Prompt treatment at the onset of symptoms can prevent UTIs from escalating to the extent of hospitalization.

About Growing Needs

About Growing Needs

Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.

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