If you take care of an elderly loved one, knowing the signs of a bladder infection can help reduce the risk for complications such as kidney involvement and sepsis, which refers to a serious blood infection often caused by an untreated or under-treated infection.
While the most common symptoms of a bladder infection include pain or burning upon urination, lower abdominal pain or pressure, cloudy urine, blood in the urine, or other symptoms which may be more subtle can be present. If your elderly loved one is unable to express his or her needs due to a cognitive or neurological impairment, they may be unable to tell you if they are experiencing urinary pain or other symptoms. Here are 3 subtle signs of a bladder infection and what you can do about them for your loved one:
Increased Or Decreased Urinary Output
If your loved one is experiencing an increase or a decrease in urinary output, it may signal a urinary tract infection. Sometimes, alterations in the amount of urine that is voided is the first sign of a bladder or urinary tract infection. If you notice that the pattern of elimination is different, call the physician.
A simple urine test will help the doctor determine if a urinary tract infection is present so that the appropriate antibiotic can be prescribed. Once the infection has cleared, the pattern of elimination will probably revert back to normal.
Other things that can affect the amount of urine that is voided include caffeinated beverages and diuretics, or "water pills," which are medications used in the treatment of high blood pressure.
An elevated temperature can be the first symptom of a urinary tract infection, or it can signal an untreated, long-standing bladder infection. If your senior loved one has an elevated temperature, check for the presence of other symptoms such as painful urinary output, pelvic pain, cloudy urine, lower back pain, and changes in urinary output.
If any of these other symptoms are present, call the health care provider for further evaluation and appropriate treatment. While a low grade fever can indicate the presence of a bladder infection, it can also mean that your elderly loved one has a respiratory infection, wound infection, dental abscess, or inner ear infection.
If your loved one seems confused, agitated, or disoriented, he or she may have a bladder infection. A urinary tract infection, especially one that has traveled to the kidneys, may result in changes in mental functioning. This can develop when the urinary system is unable to get rid of toxins through the urine.
When toxins build up in the bloodstream, cognitive problems can develop. Any changes in cognitive function need to be evaluated by the elderly person's primary physician, who can determine if the individual needs to be further evaluated by a specialist such as a neurologist or kidney specialist known as a nephrologist.
Senior care providers need to understand the importance of recognizing the subtle signs of a bladder infection. If you are unable to provide in-home care for your loved one, call a home health care provider agency, such as United Senior Services home health care providers, to learn more about the services it offers in the management of the home care giving.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.