The possibility of developing a urinary tract infection increases rapidly after age 65. This is apparently the result of changes in the aging bladder which increase its susceptibility to infection. For example, the muscle tone of the bladder decreases, so that it may not empty completely.
Hormonal changes after menopause (decreased estrogen levels) also increase the likelihood of developing an infection, as do inactivity and a poor nutritional state. Diabetics are at higher risk.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include pain or burning on urination, frequent urination, a feeling of urgency to urinate, incontinence (inability to control the urge to urinate), and pain and fullness
in the lower abdomen.
Diagnosis is usually made by urinalysis, and by urine culture, if necessary. If the urinalysis shows the presence of pus and bacteria, the urine is cultured to identify the bacteria. The bacteria are then tested for their sensitivity to different antibiotics.
Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection is instituted with the antibiotic found to be most effective and is continued for one to two weeks. A repeat culture should be performed to make sure that the infection has been cured.
Other measures recommended to treat urinary tract infection and to prevent its recurrence are:
1. Increase fluid intake, especially water. Cranberry juice may be recommended to make the urine more acidic.
2. Take showers instead of baths.
3. Avoid bubble baths, perfumed soaps, and feminine hygiene sprays.
4. Wear cotton panties.
5. Avoid harsh laundry soaps and bleaches and rinse clothes well.
6. Avoid pantyhose next to the body and tight slacks.
7. Wipe from front to back with a single stroke when toileting.
8. When on a long car trip, stop every few hours to urinate.
9. Cleanse the anal area thoroughly after each bowel movement.