Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in elderly adults than any other age group. UTIs are not only more common in the aging population, but UTI symptoms in elderly people can also be more complicated than in younger patients with the same illness.
Let’s take a look at some signs of UTI in elderly people and the effects of UTI on the elderly.
Early signs of a developing UTI are:
- Burning with urination
- Pressure in the pelvis or lower abdomen
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Feeling like the bladder is not empty after urination
- Lower back pain or discomfort
- Blood in the urine
- Feeling tired or fatigued
UTI and confusion in elderly patients sometimes go hand in hand. If your loved one suddenly seems confused or disoriented it could be a complication caused by a urinary tract infection.
UTI memory loss in elderly people is another unusual, yet common symptom of a UTI infection.
UTI delirium in elderly patients can occur. Antipsychotic medications may be prescribed until the infection clears up to help with this upsetting symptom. The medications help with agitation, restlessness, and distress that might result in an accident or injury.
UTI and falls in the elderly patient can be another unexpected complication. When a UTI occurs, the infection can cause low blood pressure which can result in dizziness or a feeling of being lightheaded. Severe infections can also cause weak muscles, leading to an inability to stand without assistance.
UTI and nausea in elderly patients may be a sign that the infection has progressed to a kidney infection. Some people have nausea caused by the antibiotics prescribed to combat the UTI.
Can UTI cause incontinence in elderly people?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. A urinary tract infection can irritate the bladder which causes a strong urge to urinate. Elderly people often have weakened muscles in the bladder and cannot control or stop the flow of urine.
One of the most serious complications of a UTI in the elderly is sepsis. A septic infection is a potentially life-threatening infection of the bloodstream. The three stages of sepsis are:
- Severe sepsis
- Septic shock
Symptoms of sepsis from UTI in elderly patients can progress quickly. If you experience a high fever, severe nausea, decreased breathing, irregular heartbeat, extreme fatigue, or sudden decreased urinary output, you should seek immediate medical treatment. These can all be signs of an advancing septic infection.
A urinary tract infection in a person over the age of 60 should always be suspected if your loved one displays any of the signs and symptoms outlined above.
The confusion, delirium, agitation, and restlessness often associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by a UTI. If the UTI is treated properly and promptly, the behavioral changes should diminish as recovery from the UTI occurs.
Once again, early recognition of UTI symptoms and starting on an antibiotic regime immediately can reduce the chances of severe illness and complications.
If you are experiencing symptoms, the best protection is early detection.