Sunday, January 15, 2006

urinary tract infection (UTI)

Urinary tract infection is a major problem in old age. These infections can be caused by residual urine in the bladder, which may be due to a flaccid bladder, increasing immobilization, and poor nutrition.
Symptoms include urinary frequency, painful urination, incontinence, fever, lower back pain, urgency, hematuria (blood in urine), and confusion. Many urinary tract infections, however, may be totally asymptomatic. Treatment for urinary tract infection is generally medical and antibiotics may be prescribed. Medications commonly used in the treatment of urinary tract infection include urinary antiseptics such as Gantrisin, Furadantin, and Bactrim. Sulfonamides are the usual systemic antibiotic of choice. The people that have urinary tract infections or are prone to UTI should be encouraged to increase their fluid intake and improve their general nutrition. Increasing fluids helps to dilute the urine, which lessens irritation and burning and provides a continual flow of urine to discourage stasis and multiplication of bacteria in the urinary tract. Some individuals with chronic urinary tract infections take urinary antiseptics prophylactically. Females should be instructed on good hygiene habits, including proper toilet tissue handling (wiping front to back).
It is important that urinary tract infections are identified and treated promptly. These infections contribute to illness during the acute infection and are also significant in the development of chronic renal failure.
Steinberg, F. U. Care of the Geriatric Patient, 6th ed. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.

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