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How To Prevent Bladder Infections In The Elderly

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How Is It Diagnosed

Preventing Bladder Infections

If doctors suspect that a UTI is present, they will test a urine sample in the office or send it to a laboratory for a urinalysis.

A urine culture can confirm which bacteria are causing the infection. Knowing the specific type of bacteria allows the doctor to determine a suitable treatment plan.

A condition called asymptomatic bacteriuria is also common in older adults. ASB occurs when there are bacteria in the urine, but they do not cause any signs or symptoms of infection.

Although ASB is common in older adults, it does not typically require treatment, unless it causes other clinical symptoms.

The standard treatment for a UTI is antibiotics, which kill the bacteria causing the infection. Doctors will prescribe an antifungal medication instead if a fungus is causing the UTI.

It is essential that people take the antibiotic or antifungal medication precisely according to the prescription, even if they begin to feel better. Completing the entire prescription will help to destroy all of the infectious bacteria.

Preventing Utis In Elderly Women

  • 1Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. If youre a woman, keeping residue from the anus away from the urethra is vital to UTI prevention. When cleaning yourself, wipe away from the urethra, or where urine comes out. Fold the paper or cloth to a clean section before wiping again.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
  • 2Take showers instead of baths, if possible. Baths can allow water to enter the vagina and urethra, which encourages germs to spread. If youre physically able, take showers instead of baths.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
  • A shower seat and handheld shower head can make it easier to shower if you have mobility issues.
  • 3Change your undergarments and incontinence pads or briefs often. Wear loose, breathable undergarments, and change them at least once daily or whenever theyre soiled. If you wear adult diapers or incontinence pads, change them whenever theyre soiled.XResearch source
  • 4Ask your doctor about estrogen replacement therapy. Estrogen levels decrease after menopause, which leads to changes that make the vagina more hospitable for harmful bacteria. An estrogen cream might help, but you should ask your doctor if its the right solution for you.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
  • Urinary Tract Infections In The Elderly

    Do you know what to look out for and how to prevent a Urinary Tract Infection ? A UTI is more common among people with incontinence and the elderly. Therefore, it is important that you know what to look out for and how to prevent UTIs.

    A UTI is something that anyone can get, but some groups are more vulnerable than others. If you are taking care of a relative with incontinence or some other diagnose, there are a few things that can be good to look out for.

    Also Check: Can You Have A Bladder Infection Without Symptoms

    Ideas To Talk To Your Doctor About

    If you get a lot of UTIs, your doctor may consider:

    • A daily low dose of antibiotics, taken for 6 months or longer
    • Having you test yourself for a UTI at home when you have symptoms
    • Taking a single dose of antibiotics after having sex

    If youâve gone through menopause, you could ask about estrogen vaginal cream. After menopause, women have less estrogen in their bodies, which can cause vaginal dryness and make the urinary tract more vulnerable to infection. The treatment can help balance the areaâs pH factor and allow âgoodâ bacteria to flourish again.

    Bladder Health For Older Adults

    Urinary Tract Infections in Older Women

    Everyone uses their bladder many times each day, but they may not know what to do to keep their bladder healthy.

    Located in the lower abdomen, the bladder is a hollow organ, much like a balloon, that stores urine. It is part of the urinary system, which also includes the kidneys, ureters, and urethra. Urine contains wastes and extra fluid left over after the body takes what it needs from what we eat and drink.

    As you get older, the bladder changes. The elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less stretchy bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make you go to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may weaken, making it harder to empty the bladder fully and causing urine to leak.

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    Older Adults Should Have Other Symptoms Too

    When your loved ones doctor suspects a UTI, be sure to mention whether these symptoms are also present:

    • Fever over 100.5 °F
    • Worsening urinary frequency or urgency
    • Sudden pain with urination
    • Tenderness in the lower abdomen, above the pubic bone

    Having at least two of the symptoms above, along with a positive urine culture, will confirm a UTI.

    Are You At Risk For A Uti

    UTIs are more frequent in older adults. If the following applies to you, you are at a higher risk of having UTIS:

    • Urinary retention or neurogenic bladder
    • Disposable incontinence products that arent changed regularly
    • Alzheimers disease
    • A history of UTIs
    • Use of a catheter
    • Regular incontinence
    • Bladder prolapse

    Older females who are postmenopausal are at a higher risk of UTIs, because they experience an estrogen deficiency after menopause . In older males, bladder stones, kidney stones, prostate issues, and a history of prostate infections increase the risk of UTIs.

    Also Check: Best Natural Cure For Bladder Infection

    Facts That You Need To Note

    Around 40% of seniors who are ailing will not show any fever signs even when they have a very serious infection. This is because of their already suppressed immune system. This means that you will need to be extra alert when you are caring for an elderly person.

    It is possible for UTIs to be mistaken for adult dementia or Alzheimers disease.

    Elderly people are more prone to contracting UTIs.

    It is possible to minimize or prevent the occurrence of UTIs in elderly persons.

    Also important to note is the fact that if UTIs are not treated, they can easily spread to other body parts. This can lead to sepsis and ultimately death. It can be tricky to diagnose a UTI and therefore, you should be very careful about where you get an elderly person medical help.

    Preventing Utis In Elderly Men

    Prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) Naturally
  • 1Urinate regularly and avoid holding it when you have to go. If you don’t wear adult diapers or use a catheter, focus on urinating regularly to flush your urinary tract. Additionally, do your best to use the toilet whenever you feel the urge instead of holding it.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
  • The main causes of UTIs in older men are blockages , prostate issues, and catheter use. Staying hydrated and urinating regularly can help flush the urinary tract and prevent blockages.
  • 2Discuss your prostate and kidney health with your doctor. In older men, UTIs are usually associated with kidney or prostate issues. If you develop an infection, your doctor should test your kidney function, check for prostate enlargement or infection, and look for other underlying conditions.XTrustworthy SourceNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesHealth information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
  • Your doctor might recommend medication to manage any underlying issues.
  • To diagnose the problem, your doctor may recommend a cytoscopy, where they insert a scope into your bladder.XExpert Source
  • Also Check: Unable To Control Bowels And Bladder

    Why Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Are Most Common In Older Women

    Urinary tract infections are an aggravation at any age, but theyre most common in older women. For senior women, UTIs can cause serious health problems and may not come with the usual symptoms.

    At Alpenglow Gynecology, we help patients of all ages in Littleton, Colorado, treat the uncomfortable symptoms associated with UTIs. Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and our entire care team are committed to helping older women understand and treat UTIs before they cause lasting damage. We offer a comprehensive line of womens health services to help you feel your best at every age.

    Vague Symptoms Among The Elderly

    The symptoms of an infection can be very vague and unclear among people with low immune response and diabetes, as well as in elderly people, especially those with dementia. Symptoms can include general weakness of their condition, confusion, nausea, dizziness, sudden incontinence or increased severity of incontinence, for example. Often these symptoms seem connected to other conditions that are unrelated to a UTI, which makes it difficult to recognize an infection.Knowing what is normal for the one you care about is important, so that the infection can be identified early and be treated as soon as possible.

    Recommended Reading: What Should I Do If I Have A Bladder Infection

    Ways To Prevent A Uti

    Antibiotics and natural medicines are available to help clear up UTIs, but there are preventative measures you can take to help ensure your body is able to stave off infections that tend to occur through the normal course of life. Read on to see three ways weve discovered through careful research to help prevent urinary tract infections in older women.

    How Can I Prevent Utis

    5 Phases to Heal UTIs Naturally

    It’s not always possible to prevent UTIs, but there’s things you can do to try.

    Things to do

  • Wiping from front to back when going to the toilet.
  • Maintaining hygiene by washing daily using unperfumed soap.
  • Trying to empty your bladder fully when peeing.
  • Wearing cotton underwear.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids aim for six to eight glasses of water a day.
  • Emptying your bladder after sex.
  • Things to avoid

  • Holding on when you feel the urge to pee.
  • Using perfumed soaps or talcum powder.
  • Wearing tight trousers or synthetic underwear.
  • If you or someone you look after needs help washing, going to the toilet or getting dressed, it’s important to get the help you need. Find out more about arranging care and support.

    My 94-year-old father got a UTI and the hospital staff assumed he had dementia, because he wasn’t making any sense. I had to make sure they knew this wasn’t normal for him.

    | Leicester

    Read Also: How To Relieve Bladder Spasms With Catheter

    Uti In The Elderly: Signs Symptoms And Treatments

    Urinary tract infections arent just a nuisance in the senior populationthey can cause serious health problems. A UTI occurs when bacteria in the urethra, bladder or kidneys multiplies in the urine. 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 , an extreme and potentially life-threatening response to an infection.

    What Can Affect Bladder Health

    Many things can affect bladder health. You cant control everything that affects bladder health, but there are many bladder health behaviors that you can control. Here are some things that may affect your bladder health.

    Some activities can increase the risk of urinary tract infections, including:

    • Having sex. Sexual activity can move bacteria from the bowel or vaginal cavity to the urethral opening. Urinating after sex lowers the risk of infection.
    • Using a catheter to urinate. A catheter is a tube placed in the urethra and bladder to help empty the bladder. The catheter can make a direct path for bacteria to reach the bladder.
    • Using certain types of birth control. Diaphragms can bring bacteria with them when they are placed. Spermicides may also make UTIs more likely.

    Also Check: Men’s Overactive Bladder Treatment

    How To Prevent Uti In Elderly: Best Solutions

    Before learning how to prevent UTI in elderly persons, it is important to understand what they are in the first place. A UTI is short for Urinary Tract Infection. It is a kind of infection that can occur along ones urinary tract and it is brought about by bacteria. The urinary tract includes the following parts:

    • The kidneys:they are responsible for the processing of urine
    • The bladder: this is the area where urine is stored before it is expelled from the body
    • Ureters: these are tubes which serve the purpose of transporting the urine from your kidneys all the way to your bladder
    • Urethra: this refers to a tube through which urine is emptied from ones body

    As with most infections, there are people who are at a higher risk of contracting UTIs. Because of how women are created, they are a bit susceptible to the UTIs than the male counterparts.

    This is because they have a much shorter urethra and it happens to be in close proximity to the anal area. Generally, seniors are more likely to develop UTIs than any other age group. There are many reasons which make this group vulnerable to such infections.

    The main thing is the fact that they have an immune system which is already suppressed and this is something that happens to us as we age. There are many other issues related to age that put them at the top of the list.

    Who Is Affected By Utis And How Are They Treated

    How to prevent UTIs (urinary tract infections)

    Women are more commonly affected by them than men. Around half of women will need treatment for at least one UTI during their lifetime.

    If treated with the right antibiotics, UTIs normally cause no further problems and the infection soon passes. Though complications are uncommon, they can be serious and include kidney damage and blood poisoning, which can be fatal.

    Recommended Reading: What Happens With Bladder Cancer

    What Is A Urine Infection And What Causes It

    Most urine infections are caused by germs that come from your own bowel. They cause no harm in your bowel but can cause infection if they get into other parts of your body. Some bacteria lie around your back passage after you pass a stool. These bacteria sometimes travel up the tube called the urethra and into your bladder. Some bacteria thrive in urine and multiply quickly to cause infection.

    A urine infection is often called a urinary tract infection by healthcare professionals. When the infection is just in the bladder and urethra, this is called a lower UTI. If it travels up to affect one or both kidneys as well then it is called an upper UTI. This can be more serious than lower UTIs, as the kidneys can be damaged by the infection.

    Provide Proper Catheter Care Including Excellent Hand Hygiene

    Patients with urinary catheters are at an increased risk for a UTI. Providing appropriate catheter care and lots of hand washing can decrease the chance of the patient getting a UTI. This also includes ensuring there are no kinks in the urinary catheter, and ensuring that the collection bag is below the level of the patients bladder.

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    How The Urinary Tract Works

    Urine is made by your two kidneys, one on each side of the tummy . Urine drains down tubes called ureters into the bladder. There it is stored and passed out through a tube called the urethra, when you go to the toilet.

    In the average adult patient there should be a urine output of: 0.5-1 ml/kg/hr. This means that an average 70 kg man should produce 35-70 mls an hour. However urine output decreases in older patients and the target urine output should be 0.25-0.5 ml/kg/hr. This means that a 70 kg man who is aged over 65 years should produce 17.5-35 mls per hour.

    Adequate Fluids And Utis

    UTI

    Adequate fluid status is important as it helps aid in urination, which can help flush bacteria out of the urinary system.

    How much fluid the elderly needs greatly depends on current body size, weight, medications, activity level, and the environment.

    Commonly used calculations for estimated fluid needs in the elderly include:

    • 1 mL fluid per calorie
    • Urine output + 500mL/d

    You can learn more at our article Dehydration in the Elderly.

    Recommended Reading: Bladder Problems After Gastric Bypass

    Regular Urination Schedule And Utis

    Urine consists of bacteria and, if held in the bladder for an extended amount of time, can lead to an increased risk of infection.

    It is important to have a regular urination schedule throughout the day. This simply means, get up and use the restroom often. Dont hold it for too long.

    Some elderly people may not be able to mobilize as well and get to the bathroom, so it is important for caretakers to ask frequently if they need to go.

    Home Remedies For Treating And Preventing Elderly Uti

    Urinary tract infections can significantly impact an older adult’s physical and mental health. If left untreated, UTIs can cause dementia-like symptoms and a host of other behavioral and physical issues.

    The AgingCare Caregiver Forum has become a resource for family caregivers looking for advice and tips for dealing with recurrent UTIs in an aging loved one. Here are some tips gathered directly from the experience of other caregivers on how to prevent or treat a UTI:

    Read Also: Overactive Bladder And Back Pain

    Clinical Policy And Research Implications

    Our findings suggest that GPs consider early prescription of antibiotics for this vulnerable group of older adults in view of their increased susceptibility to sepsis after UTI and despite a growing pressure to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use. Particular care is needed for the management of older men and those in deprived communities. For researchers, there is a need to improve the understanding of the effects of deferred antibiotic prescribing in routine practice. New medical record or retrievable codes should therefore be in place to record when primary care clinicians advise patients to delay antibiotic consumption.

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