Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are a somewhat common infection among people of all ages and gender, and more so among women. This occurs when bacteria enter the urethra, the opening that carries the urine from the bladder. While men too, have UTIs, it is said that more than 10% of women over 65 and 30% of them over 85 suffer from UTIs. Without a doubt, age too is a factor and needs to be taken into consideration. Hence, understanding UTIs and taking steps for prevention, or getting proper treatment in the case of infection is very important.
Typical symptoms of a UTI are:
- Pain in the pelvis
- Burning sensation in the urethra while passing urine
- Frequent urination
- Foul smelling urine
At times, you may also have a fever due to the infection, primarily if it spreads to the other parts like kidneys and bladder. Decreased appetite, lethargy, increased incontinence, back pain, nausea, etc. are also seen in a few cases. A bacteria called as Escherichia coli mainly causes the UTI. It is important to remember that not all people will have all the symptoms.
It has also been seen that at times, few seniors may be having atypical symptoms as well. So, when in doubt, if you find anything out of the ordinary happening, it is best to visit a doctor and get yourself checked.
Seniors and UTI
The risk factor is more for seniors getting a UTI as the chances increase with age and age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or even diabetes. People wearing adult diapers and not maintaining hygiene are at a high risk of getting a UTI. Using a catheter is also one of the reasons for UTI. People with a family history of UTIs should also watch out for such symptoms and get help immediately.
Specifically for women, the chances of UTI increase during menopause because of estrogen deficiency. Estrogen helps fight and contain the UTI causing bacteria. For males, the reasons could also be a bladder or kidney stone, or enlarged prostate.
When you have a doubt and find some symptoms, you should visit a doctor, and the doctor may advise a simple urine test to figure out if the infection is present. Once diagnosed, the doctor will prescribe a line of treatment which most often will involve antibiotics. Not getting timely treatment can cause severe issues and complications in the case of UTI. Hence, follow a policy of visiting a doctor, especially if you are in the risk category.
While, timely treatments can help contain the UTI, as always prevention is the best care. Here are a few steps that can be taken to keep UTIs at bay.
1. Drink plenty of fluids – Fluids, especially water, is said to help flush out toxins from the body and hence, the more you drink water, the healthier you will be.
2. Hygiene – This is a significant factor in avoiding UTIs. It is important to wash your genital parts properly as well as your hands every time you use a toilet. This will help keep the infections at bay. If you are using incontinence briefs or diapers, please change it as and when required.
3. Avoid coffee and alcohol – These are irritants to the bladder and can cause or aid the infection-causing bacteria. So, it is better to avoid or control the consumption of these two items.
4. Not holding urine – It is important to urinate whenever you feel that there is a need and not hold it back for long hours. Holding it back can also cause UTI.
Way to go
In conclusion, UTI is something that is common, especially among the older population, especially women. However, with a few simple steps, it can be avoided. And in the worst case of getting infected, proper treatment can be sought, and people can lead a healthy life without any issues.