Take steps to lessen your chances of getting UTI
Updated: May 16
Urinary tract infections. Men over 50 and women who have gone through menopause are at greater risk for UTIs, even if they have never had one before. As we age, we increase the odds of getting a UTI. There are precautions that can be taken to help minimize your risk of infection.
What is UTI?
The Urology Health Foundation reports that UTIs are very common in the U.S. In fact, UTIs, notes the foundation, are the second-most common type of infection in the body, and are the reason for more than eight million visits to the doctor each year.
UTIs affect any part of your urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The bladder and urethra are the most commonly infected parts of the urinary tract. The urethra – the tube allowing urine to exit the body – is the primary entry point for bacteria that will ultimately multiply in the bladder, resulting in urinary tract infections. Although the urinary system is designed to keep such microscopic invaders out, its defenses do not always work. Bacteria can grow into a developed infection in the urinary tract once they begin their buildup in the bladder.
Women have a greater chance of developing a urinary tract infection than men. This form of bladder infection can be both painful and inconvenient. If a UTI spreads to your kidneys, it can have serious consequences.
Urinary tract infections are commonly treated with antibiotics.
What Causes UTI?
Escherichia coli (E. coli) and other types of anal and GI bacteria are responsible for UTIs. UTIs can be caused by anything that inhibits the bladder from emptying its contents, or anything that irritates the urinary tract. Several other factors can increase your chances of getting a UTI, including:
People aged 65 to 85 years or above are at greater risk of developing UTIs.
Any surgery that limits the movement of patients puts them at risk of getting a UTI.
History of UTIs
Urinary tract blockages or obstructions
Various kinds of cancer
The use of a urinary catheter for a long duration of time puts a patient at risk of getting a UTI.
Poorly controlled diabetes hinders the body’s natural defenses against infections, putting you at greater risk of UTI.
Urinary tract system anomalies
Common urinary system problems include bladder and/or kidney infection, enlarged prostate, incontinence.
Weak immune system
Patients suffering from multiple illnesses are more prone to get a UTI.
Causes unique to men
Long periods of immobility
Not drinking enough fluids
Causes unique to women
The woman's urethra is shorter in size than a man's and closer to the vagina and anus; bacteria have a shorter journey to enter the bladder.
History of UTI
Women are more likely to get a UTI.
Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men by 2 to 1. As dementia progresses, the ability to control bladder and bowel urges declines.
Some of the complications of diabetes in women are more difficult to diagnose.
Hormones and inflammation act differently in women.
Decrease in estrogen levels
The normal bacteria in a woman’s vaginal environment change after menopause due to a decrease in estrogen levels, which can lead to an increased risk for a UTI.
UTI symptoms can vary, depending on which part of the urinary tract is infected. Symptoms of the urethra and bladder infection may include:
Burning sensation when urinating
Frequent urge to urinate
Blood in urine
Cola or tea color urine
Bad odor urine
The kidneys are affected by upper urinary tract infections. Symptoms of upper UTI may include:
Tenderness or pain in upper sides and back
UTI symptoms unique to men
UTI symptoms unique to women
What should be done:
You should follow these precautionary steps to prevent the risk of UTI:
Drink plenty of water, at least 6 to 8 glasses (48-64 ounces total) daily.
Avoid holding urine for a longer duration.
Consult with your physician immediately if you are facing any urinary incontinence.
Use vaginal or topical estrogen.
Use prophylactic antibiotics.
Use vaginal probiotics.
Use cranberry supplements.
The material presented on this blog does not constitute medical advice. We encourage you to consult your primary care physician (PCP). The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice. If you or your loved one is considering quality-care assisted living, please contact us at 602-670-9326, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Authors
Dr. Christopher Zambakari, BS, MBA, MIS, LP.D.
Dr. Zambakari is the owner and operator of Desert Haven Home Care in Phoenix and Apollo Assisted Living in Glendale. He provides direction and oversight to ensure Care Facilities provide the highest levels of customized care, administered by respectful licensed medical and caregiving professionals.
Nathalia Zambakari, Board Certified AGACNP-BC
Nathalia is a board-certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and a licensed medical professional responsible for short-term care patients suffering from severe conditions. As part of our care team, Nathalia reviews the medical records of incoming residents, helping us to manage patient regimens and performing caregiver education to assure that we are providing the best care possible for our residents.