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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Symptoms, Prevention and Care

Brooke Phillips, CWCMS
Editor | Shield HealthCare
05/22/14  11:00 PM PST
common UTI symptoms

Common UTI Symptoms

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are responsible for more than 8.1 million visits to the doctor and hundreds of millions in costs per year. On average, 50% of women and 12% of men will experience a UTI.

Urinary tract infections usually appear with a fever. However, 30%-40% of the elderly do not display a fever with this common infection, making a UTI difficult to recognize. Listed below are other common symptoms of a UTI:

  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Painful urination
  • Lower abdominal tenderness
  • Grimacing or painful facial gestures when urinating
  • Milky, cloudy or red/pink urine
  • Sudden onset of confusion that is not normal for the person

The risk of urinary tract infections increases as incontinence worsens. The body’s natural way of preventing urinary tract infections is through voiding. As urine travels through the urinary system it washes bacteria out. The elderly are at greater risk for urinary tract infections because as we age, our bladders lose elasticity and our kidneys’ ability to filter waste decreases. Urinary retention can occur where small amounts of urine are left in the bladder after voiding, increasing the possibility of a UTI. Other medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer increase the risk for UTIs.

UTI Prevention & Care

It is very important to try to reduce the risk. Here are some recommendations:

  • Consume adequate amounts of fluid (6-8 8oz glasses per day).
  • While cranberry juice has been recommended for years, research suggests that it’s cranberry capsules that can help keep UTIs at bay or help reduce the duration of the infection.
  • Avoid consuming bladder irritants like alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and citrus fruits.
  • Whether you’re using an adult diaper (brief), disposable underwear (pull-up), or bladder control pad, changing the absorbent products immediately after becoming soiled or wet will not only reduce the risk of UTI but will also reduce skin breakdown or damage.
  • Use the toilet following an incontinence episode in a pad, diaper, or pull-up to void all remaining urine from the bladder to make sure it is empty. Leftover urine in the bladder can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Proper cleaning of the genital area, or pericare, is important after each incontinence episode or restroom use.
  • Clean from front to back using warm water or hypoallergenic and unscented cleansing cloths. Avoid rubbing or pressing too hard. This should be done all the time, but especially when a UTI is present.
  • Wash hands before and after each incontinent episode or use of the restroom.
  • Create a toileting plan to allow several visits per day to the toilet to minimize the number of incontinent episodes.

This article is intended for educational use only and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. If you have any questions or concerns regarding urinary tract infection symptoms in yourself or a loved one, please contact your primary care physician.

To learn more about the different types of incontinence and treatment options, click here.

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. Caryn
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 9:04 am PDT

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is the type of information needs to be said time and time again. For the caregivers who don’t recognize the signs, it’s not easy to see. Please keep up the great work you do. We are out here, trying our best to care for our loved ones.

  2. Caryn Cooper
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 9:05 am PDT

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is the type of information needs to be said time and time again. For the caregivers who don’t recognize the signs, it’s not easy to see. Please keep up the great work you do. We are out here, trying our best to care for our loved ones.

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