Topic Overview

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are
common in older women and men. Factors that make older adults more likely to
develop UTIs include:

  • An immune system that isn’t as strong as when the person was younger.
  • A reduced ability to control urination and bowel
    movements (incontinence), which increases the chance of getting bacteria into
    the urinary tract.
  • A hospital stay or living in a long-term care
    center, where the person may have a urinary catheter inserted, making bladder
    infections more likely.
  • Problems with the bladder dropping down out
    of its normal position (bladder prolapse or
    cystocele). When this happens, the bladder cannot
    empty completely, making infections more likely.
  • Lack of
    estrogen in women who have gone through menopause.
    Lack of estrogen may allow bacteria that can cause UTIs to grow more easily in
    vagina or
    urethra and cause an infection in the
  • In men, partial blockage of the urinary tract by an
    enlarged prostate.
  • Other conditions, such
    diabetes, lack of activity, poor hygiene, or problems
    releasing urine.
  • Use of medicines that can cause difficulty
    urinating or a complete inability to urinate. If you think your medicine may be
    causing urination problems, talk to your doctor.

Older adults also are more likely to have conditions that
complicate UTIs, such as a lower resistance to infection. They may require more
thorough evaluation and longer antibiotic treatment than young adults who have
uncomplicated infections.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Avery L. Seifert, MD – Urology

Current as ofMay 5, 2017