Bladder infections are common among elderly men and recurrent attacks may be linked to kidney stones or prostate problems. These can include an enlarged prostate which affects the vast majority of men in their 80s and older.
Obstruction around the prostate, or a swollen prostate, would cause urine to remain in the bladder, causing an infection. This usually develops quickly and is often a result of dehydration because fewer trips to the lavatory can worsen existing bladder problems. Sufferers are likely to develop a fever quite suddenly, be in pain and feel generally unwell. Often they become confused and disorientated.
The diagnosis of a urinary tract infection is confirmed using a simple urine test. Antibiotics are the first line of treatment and usually work within the five to seven days for younger patients. However, if the infection is causing severe pain and the patient is elderly, hospital treatment is advised. There, intravenous antibiotics can be administered more rapidly, the patient can be quickly rehydrated using a drip and progress monitored more carefully.
The actual cause of an infection is bacteria within the patient’s body which get from their normal home in the bowel to the bladder which becomes infected. Precautions are necessary because such infections may be serious, even life-threatening, without prompt treatment. In rare cases the infection may travel to the kidneys causing kidney failure or lead to septicaemia – blood poisoning.
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