Urinary Incontinence and Urinary Tract Infections: Prevention and Risks

By Pamela D Wilson CSA, CG, MS, BS/BA

Urinary incontinence is common among older adults and represents a stressful and often embarrassing situation resulting in increased isolation evidenced by fear of venturing out into the public due to the possibility of an accident. Older people are less likely than younger people to discuss incontinence with their doctor. Only about half of older people with incontinence seek help for their symptoms because they believe incontinence to be a normal part of aging. 1

Urinary tract infections are common among older adults. Forty to fifty percent of adult women have a history of at least one urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections sometimes also infect the bladder and the kidneys. Prevention of recurring urinary tract infections requires evaluation to determine common factors resulting in recurring infections. Urinary tract infections are a frequent cause of hospitalization for older adults and are a major cause of gram-negative sepsis, a life threatening condition, in hospitalized patients. 2

Becoming more educated about ways to manage urinary incontinence and to treat urinary tract infections is important for caregivers of all backgrounds. While medications may be beneficial, frequent use of antibiotics may increase sensitivity and use of medications to treat symptoms of an overactive bladder. Prescription medications to treat an overactive bladder or urge incontinence may cause memory impairment or confusion, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, an increased heart rate, hyperthermia or increased pupil size.

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©2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.
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