Staying ahead of Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections, or UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system – be it your ureters, kidneys, urethra and the bladder. In most cases, infections involve the bladder and the urethra which form the lower urinary tract. If you are a woman, you are at a great risk of contracting UTI. Infection restricted to your bladder can be soring and bothersome. However, serious conditions can occur if the infection reaches the kidneys.
Doctors typically treat UTI’s with antibiotics, but you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a UTI in the first place by doing these things:
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. This helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently- letting microorganisms to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can initiate.
- Wipe completely from front to back. This supports in preventing germs in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Emptying your bladder soon after intercourse.
- Women should avoid potentially irritating feminine products like douches and powder.
- Opt for another birth control method. Certain ones can contribute to bacterial growth.
UTI’s don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do, they may include:
- a sturdy uncontrollable urge to urinate
- a burning sensation when urinating
- passing frequent, little urine
- urine that appears cloudy
- a blood sign in the urine
- strong-smelling urine
- pelvic pain, in women
UTI’s may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions in older adults. It may surprise you to know that according to studies, the population most likely to experience UTI’s is the elderly. Elderly people are more vulnerable to UTI for many reasons, including their overall defencelessness to infections due to a weakened immune system. Elderly men and women also have to bear a weakening of the muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor, which can lead to increased urinary retention (incomplete emptying of the bladder) and incontinence. These all contribute to infection.
We just discussed the typical signs and symptoms of UTI’s, but older individuals with UTI’s may not exhibit any of the hallmark signs listed above because their immune systems are unable to mount a noteworthy response to the contagion. On top of the lack of noticeable symptoms, many seniors do not or cannot express their discomfort to caregivers.
Since elders’ bodies respond differently to infection, it’s important to look for different signs and symptoms. One tell-tale symptom of UTI’S in the elderly is often mistaken for the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to researches.
Here are some lesser-known UTI symptoms in seniors. You will notice that they are markedly different from the typical signs and symptoms.
- helplessness to empty the bladder totally (urinary retention)
- use of a urinary catheter
- bowel incontinence
- bladder incontinence
- enlarged prostate
- surgery on any area around the bladder
- kidney stones
People with urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) are at an increased risk for UTI’s
Stay Ahead of Urinary Tract Infections
- change briefs promptly and frequently
- encourage front-to-back wiping and cleansing
- keep the genital area clean
- set reminders/timers for elderly people who are memory-impaired to attempt to use the bathroom as a replacement for an adult brief.
Although anyone of any age can get a UTI, there are significant differences in symptoms in the elderly. If you think your loved one might have a UTI, see your doctor right away to avoid further complications. A urine sample for lab analysis is one of the easiest ways to diagnose a UTI and that is sometimes followed by a urine culture. If detected early, a simple follow up of antibiotics stereotypically cures the infection in no time.
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