Urinary tract infections can be a problem, no matter your age or sex. But the problem is particularly troublesome for senior women. In addition to the fever and fatigue associated with any infection in the body, a UTI can also cause women to experience increased urgency to urinate, changes in urine output, feelings of pressure and discomfort, and mild to severe pain in the back, flank, and abdominal regions. As the condition progresses, it can lead to more serious health issues, including kidney damage or even sepsis, if the bloodstream should become infected due to the UTI.
Senior women, as well as anyone who may be caring for an older female family member, should be aware of the causes of UTIs and take steps to prevent one from occurring.
Why are senior women so often affected by urinary tract infection?
As the human body ages, the immune and circulatory systems begin to slow down and become less efficient at fighting infection. In addition to this problem, senior women and their caregivers may also be unknowingly contributing to the development of urinary tract infections by:
- not ensuring adequate water intake
- not changing wet or soiled underwear, incontinence pads, or feminine care products as frequently as they should
- consuming an unhealthy diet or too many caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
Changes in medications and dosages, including both OTC and doctor-prescribed medications, can also affect urinary health. and may be overlooked by both the patient and caregivers.
What are the most important ways to prevent UTIs from developing?
Like any illness or condition, prevention should always be the goal. Some of the most important ways for senior women to avoid the development of a serious UTI are relatively simple and include:
- ensuring excellent hygiene, including frequent bathing, using incontinence products properly, and always wiping from front to back after urinating or defecating
- drinking enough water and consuming a healthy diet that will keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range
- monitoring health proactively, including seeing the doctor regularly and taking medications exactly as directed by your medical care provider
Supplement usage can also be part of a proactive program for avoiding the onset of a urinary tract infection or helping to minimize the recovery time, should one develop. Supplements that contain cranberry and garlic extracts, as well as some others have been shown to help reduce bacteria levels and assist the body's immune system in staving off a urinary tract infection.
Remember, too, before taking any new supplement or making any changes in nutritional intake or medication usage, senior women should always discuss the matter with their medical care team. For more information about natural supplements for urinary tract infections, talk to your doctor.