A Peculiar Pest: Urinary Tract Infections in Older Adults
If you have had a urinary tract infection or UTI before, you are not alone. UTIs are one of the most common infections in older adults2. Normally this condition is seen more often in women, but as we age UTIs are known to occur more often in men1. UTIs may develop because of normal aging or because of existing illnesses like diabetes, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, dementia or problems using the bathroom. You may also experience a UTI if you get hurt or have surgery, and are not able to move around as much as normal, or if you have a urinary catheter3.
What exactly is a UTI? Watch this short video to learn more about how infections can develop in the urinary tract:
The most common symptoms of a UTI in older adults include pain when urinating, urine that looks or smells unusual and mental confusion2. If you are diagnosed with a UTI, don’t be alarmed. Treatment normally consists of antibiotics from your doctor and drinking plenty of water to flush the bacteria from your body. To help with recovery try to avoid alcohol, caffeine and citrus juices that may irritate your bladder.
Cranberry juice is often suggested as a preventative measure because of the products acidity. A recommended dose is 300mL of cranberry juice each day. However, it is important to remember that cranberry juice may interact with warfarin, a medication commonly used for preventing blood clots, you should first consult your doctor before consuming large amounts4. You may also want to talk with your doctor about using vitamin C tablets as another option for preventing UTIs.
In conclusion, UTIs are one of the most common infections in older adults. In addition to antibiotics from your doctor, be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid irritating liquids like caffeine and alcohol to help treat existing infections. Finally, ask you doctor before consuming excessive amounts cranberry juice as a preventive measure for UTIs.
Guest Blogger: Amber Mosher
- Griebling TL. Urinary tract infections in men. In: Litwin MS, Saigal CS, editors. Urologic Diseases in America (2007). US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. pp. 623–645.
- Juthani-Mehta M. Asymptomatic bacteriuria and urinary tract infection in older adults. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine (2007); 23 (3): 585 – 594.
- National Kidney Foundation. (2010). Urinary tract infections. Retrieved from http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/uti.cfm.
- Sumukadas D, Davey P, Mcmurdo MT. Recurrent urinary tract infections in older people: the role of cranberry products. Age Ageing (2009) 38 (3): 255-257.