How Forward Helps Older Adults Obtain Uti Treatment
For many older adults, a visit to the doctor isnt all that simple. Mobility issues and a lack of transportation may make it hard to visit the office and pick up prescriptions. Thats why Forward allows you to schedule virtual visits with your primary care provider. Then, the medication your doctor prescribes comes right to your door. We provide one-on-one, personalized care that will include exploring potential causes of UTIs. By identifying your risk factors, we can give you advice on how to modify your lifestyle and your habits to make urinary tract infections less likely to reoccur.
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How Can I Help Prevent A Uti
Luckily, there are many things that seniors can do to help prevent UTIs. Here are a few tips:
Why Are Urinary Tract Infections Common In Older Adults
Seniors are more vulnerable for many reasons, including their overall susceptibility to infections due to a weakened immune system.
As you get older, your immune response changes its part of normal aging, explains Anna Dowd, APN, a gerontological nurse practitioner in the greater Chicago area.
According to the National Institutes of Health , the following conditions make older individuals more susceptible to UTIs:
- Urine retention
- Use of a urinary catheter
- Bowel incontinence
- Urinary incontinence
- Surgery of any area around the bladder
People with incontinence are at an increased risk for UTIs because of the close contact that adult briefs and other incontinence products have with their skin. While these products can help contain messes and prevent embarrassment associated with accidents, they can also introduce bacteria into the urethra. Women are more prone to UTIs because the female urethra is much shorter, allowing bacteria to travel to the bladder more easily.
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Am I At Risk Of A Uti
While UTIs can happen to anyone, they are more common in females who are sexually active or menopausal, or have health conditions such as diabetes or urinary incontinence. Females who use spermicides or diaphragms as contraception are also at increased risk of UTIs, and may benefit from other contraceptive options if they get recurrent UTIs.
Some people at greater risk of developing urinary tract infections:
- Females nearly 1 in 3 females will have a UTI that needs treatment before the age of 24.
- Males with prostate problems an enlarged prostate gland can cause the bladder to only partially empty, raising the risk of infection.
- Older people some medications and problems with incontinence mean that older people are more likely to get a UTI.
- People with urinary catheters people who are critically ill and people who cant empty their bladder are at a greater risk of infection.
- People with diabetes changes to the immune system make people with diabetes more vulnerable to infection.
- Infants babies in nappies commonly get UTIs, in particular, infants born with physical problems of the urinary system are at greater risk.
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How Are Urinary Tract Infections Treated
A urinary tract infection will require treatment. Antibiotics are drugs that fight infection by killing microorganisms. Urinary infections are normally treated with antibiotics. The medication chosen by your doctor will be the most effective against the specific bacteria causing your infection. Antibiotics that are commonly used include:
- Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole
It is important that you take medicine according to your doctor’s advice. Don’t stop taking antibiotics just because you feel better and your symptoms disappear. If the entire course of antibiotics is not used to treat the illness completely, it may reoccur.
If you have a history of recurrent UTIs, your doctor could prescribe antibiotics for you to take as soon as your symptoms appear. To avoid the infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics to other patients daily, every other day, or after sex. If you have a previous history of getting UTIs constantly, consult your doctor about the best urinary tract infection treatment plan for you.
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Who’s At Risk Of Uti Complications
Although a bladder infection is not a medical emergency, the following individuals have a higher risk for UTI complications such as infection spread to the kidneys or elsewhere in the body:
- Individuals with kidney problems such as kidney stones or blockages
- Elderly individuals
- People with urinary retention and/or indwelling catheters
Other Symptoms Of Utis
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.
These pages explain what a UTI is, the different types of UTIs, their symptoms and treatments, and gives tips on how they may be prevented.
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Can I Prevent Urine Infections
Unfortunately, there are few proven ways to prevent urine infections. No evidence has been found for traditional advice given, such as drinking cranberry juice or the way you wipe yourself.
There are some measures which may help in some cases:
- It makes sense to avoid constipation, by eating plenty of fibre and drinking enough fluid.
- Older women with atrophic vaginitis may wish to consider hormone replacement creams or pessaries. These have been shown to help prevent urine infections.
- If there is an underlying medical problem, treatment for this may stop urine infections occurring.
- For some people with repeated urine infections, a preventative low dose of antibiotic taken continuously may be prescribed.
Urinary Tract Infection In Infants
Infant boys and girls can suffer from UTIs, but they often experience symptoms different than those in older children and adults. Fever, irritability, poor feeding, and loose stools may occur in babies who have UTIs. Since these symptoms may occur with many other conditions, it can be difficult to diagnose UTIs in infants.
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What Are The Common Symptoms
Common symptoms of a UTI infection include the following:
- Dark or cloudy urine
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Pressure or tenderness in the lower abdomen
- Low-grade fever
- Night sweats, shaking, or chills
However, older adults may not experience any of these symptoms when they have a UTI, which can make identifying the infection difficult. This is due to the fact that seniors have weakened immune systems that arent able to respond to bacterial infections as effectively. The symptoms mentioned above are actually signs that the immune system is working to fight the infection off.
Seniors have a unique set of symptoms as a result of a UTI, including the following:
- Poor coordination, which can lead to falling
Usually, these symptoms will appear suddenly if the cause is an infection. But many of these symptoms could be symptoms of other health conditions, like dehydration, dementia, and others. They could also be normal signs of aging, which makes it difficult to identify a UTI in a senior loved one.
Another factor that seniors face with experiencing a UTI is a lack of communication with their loved ones or caregivers. Many seniors may choose not to tell others about their discomfort or simply cannot express it.
The symptoms of a UTI can also change when the infection worsens and spreads to the kidneys. These symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
Strengths And Limitations Of This Study
A major strength of this study is the use of individual patient level data for adults older than 65 years extracted from a large nationwide general practice records database and linked to hospital and mortality records. This provided the opportunity to track the care pathways of a vulnerable population with a diagnosis of UTI in the community with a 60 day follow-up. The linkage with mortality data from the Office for National Statistics minimised possible bias in the risk estimates of all cause mortality among older adults treated in a routine care setting.
The large sample size of about 160000 patients with more than 300000 distinct UTI episodes substantially increased the power of the analyses, especially for rare severe adverse events in older adults . As the base population is representative of the English general population, our results are generalisable to the entire English population of elderly patients.
The main limitations of our study are common to observational studies using routinely collected electronic health record data, and include unmeasured and residual confounders, missing data and potential biases, such as confounding by indication, misclassification biases, or inconsistencies in coding within and between practices and over time.
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What Is An Asymptomatic Urinary Tract Infection In Older Adults
Asymptomatic bacteriuria is defined as the presence of bacteria in the urine, without clinical signs or symptoms suggestive of a UTI . Asymptomatic pyuria is defined as the presence of white blood cells in the urine, in the absence of urinary tract specific-symptoms. UTI is one of the most commonly diagnosed infections in older adults.
Check If It’s A Urinary Tract Infection
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night
- pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
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What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection
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.
Why Are Seniors Susceptible To Utis
Older individuals are vulnerable to UTIs for several reasons. The biggest culprit is an immune system weakened by time that increases susceptibility to any infection. Also, the elderly may have a diminished ability to take care of themselves. Reduced cognitive abilities and lower energy levels are issues that cause decreased hygiene and increased bacteria in seniors too. Becoming less communicative, often due to the same diminished cognitive capabilities, can be a contributing factor as well.
Urine overstaying its welcome in the bladder is common in elderly populations, and can foster bacteria that spreads and turns into a UTI. There are several reasons this may occur. One is that seniors may lower fluid intake during the day to avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience caused by bladder control issues. This leads to less frequent urination and a pool of urine being held in the bladder much longer. Also, aging men and women undergo a gradual weakening of the muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor, or a prolapsed bladder, leading them to retain more urine and to experience incontinence.
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What Is Urinary Sepsis
Urinary is a serious infection that can result in and premature death if treatment is delayed or absent. Also known as systemic inflammatory response syndrome, this condition may occur in individuals who have a urinary catheter or those diagnosed with a severe urinary tract infection . Timely and aggressive treatment is essential to a good prognosis, generally involving the administration of antibiotic medications, intravenous fluids, and, in some cases, surgery.
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs as a result of the immune systemâs overactive inflammatory response to a bacterial infection. Under normal circumstances, the immune system controls the bodyâs inflammatory response, keeping swelling restricted to the site of infection. When the immune system overreacts and inflammation spreads, the bodyâs defenses overcompensate and blood clots form throughout the circulatory system. As numerous, tiny blood clots circulate unchecked throughout the body, the delivery of oxygenated blood becomes compromised and organ functions are jeopardized.
How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. If a UTI is suspected, your healthcare provider will test a urine sample and consider your symptoms and other factors to determine if you need antibiotics.
Dr. Slopnick says a common misconception is that any bacteria found in urine is a sure-fire sign of a UTI and needs to be addressed.
If your doctor screens your urine and finds bacteria, that can be perfectly fine. If you dont have other symptoms, we generally do not recommend antibiotics, Dr. Slopnick states. Thats because its common to find bacteria in the urine that isnt related to an infection.
Urinary bacteria that dont cause any symptoms are called asymptomatic bacteriuria. This isnt dangerous to your health.
Treating asymptomatic bacteriuria can lead to antibiotic resistance and make future infections harder to treat. Additionally, antibiotics can create side effects including diarrhea and C. difficile infection.
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How Common Are Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. Though UTIs are common in women, they can also happen to men, older adults and children. One to 2% of children develop urinary tract infections. Each year, 8 million to 10 million visits to doctors are for urinary tract infections.
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You were visiting your mom and she seemed very confused and disoriented. She claimed the retirement home had moved her to a different apartment and she didnt know why.
Fortunately, you knew the reason for her confusion was not to be ignored because you had seen this out-of-sorts behavior before. Your mom hadnt been moved to a new apartment, but she probably had another urinary tract infection.
According to Washington University Clinical Associates primary care specialist Chelsea Pearson, MD, Family and caregivers are key in helping us identify infection in older adults. When you notice a sudden change in behavior- even a subtle one- you want to take it seriously.
Falls, agitation, confusion, changes in appetite, and incontinence in someone who was previously able to get to the bathroom can all be signs of a urinary tract infection or UTI.
When an older woman has a UTI, the symptoms are different from a younger woman. There might not be any painful burning during urination always a typical sign. This is because as you get older, your immune response changes its part of normal aging.
A UTI places stress on the body, says Dr. Pearson, and any type of stress, physical or emotional, can cause an older adult to become confused. For those suffering from Alzheimers disease or dementia, a UTI can make dementia temporarily worse.
You want to keep your urine clear by drinking four to six 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
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How Can Utis In The Elderly Be Prevented
Once a UTI infection is gone, prevention should consist of maintaining a more set schedule. Some older people start a urination schedule, setting up alarms to remind themselves to urinate. Implementing better hygiene to keep the midsection area clean and dry is also key. Seniors should regularly wear and change loose, breathable cotton underwear that can be cleaned easily. A ritual of wiping from front to back when using the bathroom is also critical.
Some urologists claim that there is an ingredient in cranberry juice that prevents bacteria, especially E coli, from adhering to the bladder wall. The ingredient is A-type proanthocyanidins or PACs. There is debate in the medical and healthcare communities as to whether there are enough PACs in cranberry juice to actually stop bacteria from grabbing on to the bladder wall. You could say that the theory has caused a healthy, sweet and sour debate! Essentially, all of these preventative measures mentioned boil down to one theme: better care.
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Common Bladder Problems And When To Seek Help
Bladder problems can disrupt day-to-day life. When people have bladder problems, they may avoid social settings and have a harder time getting tasks done at home or at work. Common bladder problems include urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary retention.
Some signs of a bladder problem may include:
- Inability to hold urine or leaking urine
- Needing to urinate more frequently or urgently
- Pain or burning before, during, or after urinating
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
- Trouble emptying the bladder
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
Treatment for bladder problems may include behavioral and lifestyle changes, exercises, medications, surgery, or a combination of these treatments and others. For more information on treatment and management of urinary incontinence, visit Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults.
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