Older adults may have other conditions that increase their risk for a UTI or that produce similar symptoms. “For example, bladder obstruction is what usually causes UTIs in older men,” explains Dr. Goldman. “Focusing only on the UTI can mask this serious underlying problem.”
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 .
Because our immune system changes as we get older , it responds differently to the infection. Instead of pain symptoms, seniors with a UTI may show increased signs of confusion , agitation or withdrawal.
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.
People shouldn’t die from a UTI , but if sepsis begins to take over and develops to severe sepsis and then to septic shock, this is exactly what can happen. More than half the cases of urosepsis among older adults are caused by a UTI .
Sepsis Symptoms Fever and chills. Very low body temperature. Peeing less than usual. Fast heartbeat. Nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea. Fatigue or weakness. Blotchy or discolored skin.
UTIs can cause a significant and distressing change in someone’s behaviour that is commonly referred to as ‘ acute confusional state ‘ or ‘ delirium ‘. Delirium is a change in someone’s mental state and usually develops over one or two days .
When left untreated , UTIs can cause serious problems in the elderly , including permanent kidney damage and sepsis, a generalized and potentially life-threatening infection.
Symptoms of a UTI may include: a more urgent need to urinate. increased urination. burning, pain, or discomfort when urinating. feeling pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis. cloudy, thick, or odorous urine. the bladder not feeling empty after urination. fever. pain in the lower abdomen, flank, or back.
Older adults don’t need powerful antibiotics for UTIs Lathia and Dr. Goldman. These drugs are less likely to lead to antibiotic resistance and problematic side effects than broad-spectrum antibiotics. Today, amoxicillin is commonly prescribed as first-line treatment for UTIs in older adults .
But there are other pre-existing conditions, activities, and products that can lead to a UTI . Some of the most common causes include: Dehydration – Drinking enough water, especially during hot summer months, can make the difference between flushing out the bacteria that can cause a UTI or not.
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole , nitrofurantoin , and fosfomycin are the most preferred antibiotics for treating a UTI.
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for UTIs . However, the body can often resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own without the help of antibiotics . By some estimates, 25–42 percent of uncomplicated UTI infections clear on their own. In these cases, people can try a range of home remedies to speed up recovery .
A kidney infection is, in essence, a UTI that has spread into the kidneys . While this type of infection is rare, it’s also very dangerous and if you’re experiencing any of the following signs of a kidney infection , you should see a doctor immediately: Upper back or side pain. Fever, shaking or chills.
There are three stages of sepsis: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock .
Complications of a UTI may include: Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience two or more UTIs in a six-month period or four or more within a year. Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI .