Urine Infection in Older People - Symptoms

What are the symptoms of a urine infection?

  • Infection in the bladder (cystitis) usually causes pain when you pass urine. You pass urine more frequently. You may also have pain in your lower tummy (abdomen). Your urine may become cloudy, bloody or offensive-smelling. You may have a high temperature (fever).
  • Infection in the kidneys may cause you to feel generally unwell. There may be a pain in your back. This is usually around the side of the back (the loin), where each kidney is located. You may have a high fever. You may feel sick, or be sick (vomit).

In some older people the only symptoms of the urine infection may be a recent onset of confusion or just feeling generally unwell. The confusion is caused by a combination of factors such as having a fever and having a lack of fluid in the body (dehydration). The confusion should pass when the infection has been treated.

How common are urine infections?

Urine infections are much more common in women. This is because in women the urethra - the tube from the bladder that passes out urine - is shorter. Also it opens nearer the back passage (anus) than in men. Half of all women will have a urine infection that needs treating in their lifetime.

Urine infections are less common in men. They are very uncommon in young and middle-aged men. They are more common in older men. They are more likely to occur in men who have to use a catheter. A catheter is a thin, flexible, hollow tube used to drain urine.

Urine infections tend to become more common as you get older.

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Author:
Dr Mary Harding
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Laurence Knott
Document ID:
13770 (v4)
Last Checked:
24 March 2016
Next Review:
24 March 2019

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.