The main cause of UTIs, at any age, is usually bacteria. Escherichia coli is the primary cause, but other organisms can also cause a UTI. In older adults who use catheters or live in a nursing home or other full-time care facility, bacteria such as Enterococci and Staphylococci are more common causes.
Risk factors for recurrent symptomatic UTI include diabetes, functional disability, recent sexual intercourse, prior history of urogynecologic surgery, urinary retention, and urinary incontinence. Testing for UTI is easily performed in the clinic using dipstick tests.
Why Do Seniors Get UTIs? Older adults are more vulnerable to UTIs, because as we age, we tend to have weaker muscles in our bladder and pelvic floor that can cause urine retention or incontinence. Whenever the urine stays in the urinary tract, there’s a potential for bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, or E.
Having a suppressed immune system or chronic health condition can make you more prone to recurring infections, including UTIs. Diabetes increases your risk for a UTI, as does having certain autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases and kidney or bladder stones.
If left untreated, a UTI can lead to acute or chronic kidney infections, which could permanently damage these vital organs and even lead to kidney failure. UTIs are also a leading cause of sepsis, an extreme and potentially life-threatening bodily response to an infection.
Urinate frequently By drinking more water, the urge to urinate will become more frequent. Urinating more often prevents infecting bacteria from building up that cause UTIs in seniors.
Urinary tract infections can exacerbate dementia symptoms, but a UTI does not necessarily signal dementia or Alzheimer’s. As the Alzheimer’s Society explains, UTIs can cause distressing behavior changes for a person with Alzheimer’s. These changes, referred to as delirium, can develop in as little as one to two days.
Today, amoxicillin is commonly prescribed as first-line treatment for UTIs in older adults. Other common narrow-spectrum must be used with caution when patients have chronic kidney disease or take blood pressure medication, as many older adults do; or because their side effects can be serious in older adults.
Poor hygiene, namely wiping from “back to front,” is a common UTI risk factor for women, as this can easily spread bacteria into the urinary tract.
Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms — usually bacteria — that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Though a UTI most commonly happens in the urethra and bladder, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect your kidneys.
While “improper toilet facilities at schools” is one of the primary reasons for this, poor toilet hygiene, sedentary way of living and junk food are also culprits for an increase in incidence of UTIs, according to M.N. Sudheer Kumar, Paediatric Nephrologist, Rainbow Hospitals for Women and Children.
UTIs can cause sudden confusion (also known as delirium) in older people and people with dementia. If the person has a sudden and unexplained change in their behaviour, such as increased confusion, agitation, or withdrawal, this may be because of a UTI.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, nitrofurantoin, and fosfomycin are the most preferred antibiotics for treating a UTI. Common doses: