Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) — what are the signs and symptoms?

Mar 6, 2020

Whether you are a live-in carer or someone caring for family or friends, we want to help you limit problems from someone experiencing a urinary tract infection. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a UTI will help you understand what to watch for and how to manage it.

A urinary tract infection is when there are bacteria (normally E. coli) which has caused infection in some parts of the urinary system. The bacteria enter through the urethra but the name and symptoms depend on where the infection is.

Cystitis (bladder) may cause:

  • Discomfort when urinating
  • The feeling of constantly needing to urinate
  • There may be cloudy or bloody urine
  • Possible lower belly pain.

Pyelonephritis (kidneys) is a more serious infection and recommended to seek medical assistance if experiencing the below symptoms:

  • Shaking
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Pain in your lower back or sides.

Urethritis (urethra): This can cause a discharge and burning when you urinate.

Prostatitis (prostate): This is an infection only men will experience, often older men. Look out for the above symptoms and additional symptoms like fatigue, difficulty urinating or dribbling occurs, and pain in the pelvis or area between the rectum and scrotum.

*Particularly in older people, especially those with dementia, symptoms for a urinary tract infection can be very hard to identify. Watch out for behavioural changes like agitation or severe confusion.

While the above symptoms may be signs of a UTI it is always recommended that you consult with a doctor if you suspect anything to be wrong. They will be the ones to confirm and test for a UTI as well as prescribe antibiotics if needed.

High-risk factors & prevention

Here are a few factors to look out for that put people more at risk for a urinary tract infection:

  • Being immobile for long periods of time
  • Has a history of UTIs
  • Has an enlargement on his prostate gland (common in older men)
  • Has trouble with bowel control
  • Has a urinary catheter

It will be extra important in these cases to implement preventive measures against infection such as:

  • Emptying the bladder as soon as they feel the need to urinate and making sure it is fully emptied
  • If applicable be sure to wipe front to back, or encourage this action after toileting
  • Drinking plenty of water- fluids help flush out bacteria
  • Choose showers over baths when possible
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry by wearing cotton undergarments and changing when necessary. Try keeping clothes loose-fitting to avoid trapping moisture.

How to reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection

For those at high risk of a urinary tract infection having live-in care can be especially helpful in monitoring signs and symptoms, as well as carrying out the proper preventive measures. As outlined in the Better At Home Report, a live-in carer can help reduce the risk of not only infections but other hazards like falls, that are associated with UTIs.

A live-in carer is able to help with the recovery process by encouraging plenty of water and fluids while advising to avoid certain fluids like citrus juice, coffee, alcohol, and soda which may cause additional irritation to the bladder.

Live-in carers are also able to encourage the full completion of the prescribed antibiotics even if they begin to feel better, as this ensures all bacteria are killed. They will be able to provide hot water bottles and assist with pain relief medication like paracetamol.

If you would like to find out more about how live-in care may be able to support those at risk of developing urinary tract infections, we would love to see how ENA Care Group can support you. Give us a call at 08004 334 413 or email .