As a woman gets older and goes through menopause, the loss of estrogen actually changes the pH of her vagina, making it less acidic, which in turn makes it easier for bad bacteria to grow, explains Dr. Fishburne.
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.
Older people are more susceptible to UTIs due to a weaker flow of urine, meaning the bladder doesn’t empty fully. In men, an enlarged prostate can also make it difficult to empty the bladder completely. This can lead to bacteria building up in the urine and bladder.
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.
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.
Why are seniors at risk for UTIs? Men and women older than 65 are at greater risk for UTIs. This is because both men and women tend to have more problems emptying their bladder completely as they age, causing bacteria to develop in the urinary system.
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.
Frequent, urgent need to urinate. Painful or burning urination. Seniors experiencing UTIs can show a sudden change in behavior and symptoms that may appear to be associated with cognitive issues, such as:
To treat a UTI without antibiotics, people can try the following home remedies:
Why some women get recurrent UTIs The infections are usually caused by Escherichia coli, a bacterium that lives in the intestinal system. If E. coli are carried from the rectum to the vagina, they can enter the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) and infect the bladder.
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.
Signs of Urinary Tract Infection In some elderly people, mental changes and confusion may be the only signs of a UTI. Older adults with a UTI are more likely to be tired, shaky, and weak and have muscle aches and abdominal pain.
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.