ARTICLES / General / Playing Detective
By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
As with many things, the best treatment for a UTI
Women who have experienced a UTI at least once
see increased odds of a reoccurrence.
Approximately 20 percent of women who’ve had a UTI
will experience a second one and 30 percent of those
women will get a third.
For a loved one with incontinence, here are some
specific tips to apply. First, change the briefs
frequently and encourage front-to-back cleaning of
the genital area. Keeping that area clean is of
utmost importance, as is setting reminders for the
memory-impaired to remember to use the bathroom if
they are able.
Some other general ways to prevent UTIs include:
- Drink plenty of fluids (professionals
recommend 2 to 4 quarts per day). This makes it
harder for bacteria to live and multiply in the
urinary tract by flushing it out.
- Drink cranberry juice or take a cranberry
tablet. This is not recommended if a loved one
has a personal or family history of kidney
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which irritate
- Avoid use of feminine hygiene products such
- If wearing underwear, use cotton and change
at least once a day.
Prevention also comes by understanding how UTIS
are developed in the senior population to begin
with, and what may make a loved one more susceptible
to the issue.
First, those with diabetes are at a higher risk.
This disease affects many of the systems that
protect against any type of infection, and poor
circulation reduces the white blood cells’ mobility
to the proper places in the body. Women diabetics
are more likely to develop a UTI, and some doctors
will routinely screen asymptomatic patients in order
to prevent more serious complications.
Those with the inability to empty their bladder,
or bowel incontinence, as well as those who use a
urinary catheter have an increased risk for UTI
development. Surgery anywhere around the bladder
area can contribute to the rise of the condition, as
can kidney stones.
A big risk factor is lack of physical activity,
especially for those bound to a wheelchair or bed.
Prevention is important, but caregivers can’t be
too careful and should keep their eyes and ears open
to changes in behavior of a loved one, no matter how
subtle. Whether a fall, increased confusion,
inability to get to the bathroom on time, these
things should be noted and monitored in the event
they are smaller symptoms of a larger issue.