Elderly and UTIs


What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)? UTIs are common infections that happen when bacteria, often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract. The infections can affect several parts of the urinary tract, but the most common type is a bladder infection (cystitis). Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is another type of UTI. They’re less common, but more serious than bladder infections.


UTIs are common, but prompt and proper treatment can prevent serious complications.

Risks Factors for UTIs

Some people are at higher risk of getting a UTI. Factors that can increase the risk of UTIs:


 Age (older adults and young children are more likely to get UTIs)

 Structural problems in the urinary tract, such as enlarged prostate

 Poor hygiene, for example, in older adults or children who are potty-training

 A previous UTI

 Sexual activity

 Changes in the bacteria that live inside the vagina, or vaginal flora. For example, menopause or the use of spermicides can cause these bacterial changes.

UTI Symptons

Symptoms of a bladder infection can include:


 Pain or burning while urinating

 Frequent urination

 Feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder

 Bloody urine

; Pressure or cramping in the groin or lower abdomen

UTI Complications

When treated promptly and properly, lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, UTIs can cause serious health problems.


Complications of a UTI may include:


 Repeated infections, which means you have two or more UTIs within six months or three or more within a year. Women are especially prone to having repeated infections.

 Permanent kidney damage from a kidney infection due to an untreated UTI

 A narrowed urethra in men from having repeated infections of the urethra.

 Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. This is a risk especially if the infection travels up the urinary tract to the kidneys.