Community Blog

Signs and Symptoms of a UTI

By Michelle Brown

There’s no doubting urinary tract infections can be quite bothersome, but in seniors they can be dangerous to physical and mental functions of the body. It is important to recognize the symptoms of a UTI and the preventative measures to take to prevent serious health complications.


Most Common Symptoms

 Seniors have a greater chance for UTIs because their immune systems aren’t as strong as they once were. There’s also the fact that seniors experience a weakening of the pelvic floor and bladder as they age, which means they might not fully void their bladders when urinating.


Some of the most common signs a person might have a UTI include:


  • Night sweats or chills
  • Dark or murky urine
  • Low fever
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pain during urination
  • Pressure in the lower pelvis


Note that the above are the most prevalent symptoms that someone might have a UTI. When it comes to seniors, their immune systems may not be able to respond the same way as someone with more robust defenses. Severe signs for a senior consist of:


  • Sudden shifts in mental state
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Falling
  • Dizziness
  • Poor motor skills


When UTIs Spread to the Kidneys

There’s a chance a UTI can spread to a person’s kidneys. Should that happen, presented symptoms will be acuter and often include:


  • Vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Back pain
  • Nausea


Should an infection progress to this stage, it’s best to seek out medical attention as soon as possible.


UTI Risk Factors

Risk factors from UTIs include:


  • Dementia
  • Having a prolapsed bladder
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • A medical history of having UTIs
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Using a catheter


Preventing Tract Infections

Thankfully, there are measures that can be taken to prevent UTIs in seniors. Adding steps to an individual’s daily practices can go a long way in keeping he or she healthy:


  • Urinating as soon as it becomes necessary
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Refraining from douching
  • Frequently changing incontinence briefs
  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and other substances known to irritate the bladder
  • Wiping from front to back after using the bathroom


If you feel like your senior may be experiencing symptoms of a UTI, it is important to seek medical attention quickly before the symptoms become life-threatening.