UTI – Urinary tract infection

What is a UTI?

A UTI is an infection that occurs usually in your bladder or kidneys

Causes

Bacteria that live in the vagina, genital, and anal areas may enter the urethra, travel to the bladder, and cause an infection.

Symptoms

  • Sensation of needing to pass urine more frequently
  • Stinging when passing urine
  • Pain in your stomach
  • Discharge
  • Cloudy / smelly urine
  • Confusion or agitation (particularly those who are elderly) and you can also feel tired and unwell

Treating UTIs

There are known to be some home remedies to treat UTI’s such as

  • Drink cranberry juice. …
  • Use probiotics. …
  • Get enough vitamin C
  • Taking paracetamol will help treating any pain or aching you may be experiencing

How will a GP test if you have a UTI?

A urinalysis test will be able to pick up if you have a urinary tract infection, kidney disease and diabetes

A urine dipstick is the quickest way to diagnose a UTI. The dipstick will be dipped into the urine which will measure the pH scale of the urine, which can then be used to identify if they have an infection. You will need to use a sterile pot so it is best a medical professional carries out this test.

A urinalysis test will be able to check

  • Acidity (pH) .
  • Protein 
  • Glucose (sugar) is usually a sign of diabetes.
  • White blood cells (pus cells) are signs of infection.
  • Bilirubin is a waste product from the breakdown of old red blood cells.  It is normally removed from the blood by the liver.  Its presence in the urine may be a sign of liver disease. 
  • Blood
pH Scale

When to get help

If your symptoms do not improve in 2-3 days it is recommended that you should contact your GP. They will organise a urine sample and can also prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Usually antibiotics will cure the infection within a few days of starting, but it is very important that you finish the course of antibiotics, even if you feel that the symptoms have disappeared

How to prevent a UTI

  • Drink a lot of water, ensure you are going to the toilet regularly and not holding your urine for long periods of time
  • After going to the toilet, Wipe from front to back, to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria
  • Don’t use irritating hygiene products in your private areas (strong perfumed hygiene products!)

Why are elderly people more vulnerable to UTI’s?

As women get older transition through menopause, the loss of oestrogen changes the pH of her vagina, making it less acidic, which in makes it easier for bad bacteria to grow

Urine retention (Weakening of the bladder and pelvic floor muscles can lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder and incontinence.)

Those with the following conditions are at higher risk of a UTI

  • Use of a urinary catheter
  • Incontinence – wearing sanitary pads and pants can encourage the spread of bacteria. People who are incontinent also tend to drink less, they aren’t in control of when they pass urine / open their bowels.
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Bed bound clients / poor mobility
  • Surgery of any area around the bladder
  • Kidney stones

Why is it hard for someone with dementia to communicate that they have a UTI?

Many people with dementia find it difficult to communicate without a UTI which can worsened if they are suffering with a UTI.

They can become delirious, with their states of confusion and even agitation worsening with the infection

It is important to try and identify a urine infection quickly with someone diagnosed with dementia. The signs may be similar to the symptoms written above and may change their toileting routine.