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I am caregiver for my 84 year old wife who has some dementia and is unable to walk because of weakness. She is also incontinet for urine and bowel movements. Sometimes, the feces cover her vaginal area and triggers another UTI. Right now we are in the hospital because her bacterial infection is now in her blood. She will be released today but will need to continue the IV antibiotic drip for two to six weeks to be sure her heart is clean. Is there any way to protect her vaginal area from contamination?

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RE: Cranberry juice. When I was having issues, my doctor told me to avoid cranberry juice because it has sugar, which makes infections worse. Please note sugar is a real problem on multiple levels.
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I am a believer in cranberry tablets. Forcing my mom to drink drink drink water was awful
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Many older people do have a problem cleaning properly even if they know how and are not cognatively impaired. being overweight or having arthritis can be a real problem
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Bring her to the bathroom, and introduce her to liquid remedies like drink plenty of cranberry juice twice a day for two days or drink one glass of water every hour.
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Well... I suppose it's individual,... I am a sugar freak, a chocolate freak, and have changed to Raisons and Nuts more, in order to curb this craving somewhat... Yet considering all the sugar in my life... I have rid myself of UTIs by using Hydrogen P. to clean and the Apple-cider Vinegar ... and making sure I get about 1500 to 2000cc liquid a day...That's 6-8 glasses liquid, counted in all foods, soups, etc.. Fruit is 60-90% water and can be counted in that also... I’m too old to give up my sweet-tooth altogether... and I am sure though that many folks should give their immune system credit as well. Once the bladder wall is cleared of residual bacteria via antibiotics, or the bladder-irrigation... your immune system and your pH level are in charge of keeping you UTI free, supported by what you eat and drink and how well your body feels overall, and how well you are able to clean that very crucial area to keep it free of an e-coli bacteria... And that is individual, ... so find your niche, and I do wish you well !!!
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Oh yea! Those bacteria love sugar, even more than you do! I haven't had a soda in years, never add sugar to anything. And offspring of a crazy woman that used to put sugar on her tomatoes until I got here!
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I'd just like to add that I used to get infections frequently UNTIL my doctor explained that sugar and sweets can cause them.
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My mom had a series of seven uti's in about ten monhs. Her symptoms ranged from a back ache to stroke symptoms, garbled speech and couldn't walk. Her geriatrician finally referred her to a urogynecologist that put her on a drug cocktail that has stopped the uti's. It is now more than a year since the last uti.

My mom has had chronic diarrhea aa long as I can remember. I think the uti's were causes by insufficient cleaning so also talkes with her doctor about somehow controlling the diarrhea. The doc had her start taking a probiotic, we use Walgreens "Super Probiotic". That works very well to control the D, sometimes too well. In the past six months an ER visit was required because of, for lack of a better name, constipation. I think her brain is not transmitting the signal to her on having to push to have a bm. You see, for years a bm for mom was even less strenuous than turning on a water faucet. The stool consistency after receiving enemas in the hospital was certainly nothing to be constipated about! I hope we do not end up having to stop the probiotic! That is another problem entirely.

And we had my mom on a cranberry supplement and the real unsweetened cranberry juice. About six months ago the urinary frequency had increased significantly. Up to three times in five or ten minutes. Back to the urogynecologist who told me to stop the cranberry juice and supplements as they can cauae the frequency symptoms that we were experiencing. With cranberry stopped, frequency returned to normal.

Good luck, it is a very tricky and risky infection to try to keep up with!
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I gave my mother D-Mannose after I found that it helped me so much, and that was the end of her UTIs. The powder is easy to mix in water or juice and is basically flavorless. I buy NOW brand on Amazon.

D-Mannose is a natural sugar that binds with E. coli bacteria in the bladder, and then both are excreted in the urine. Because D-mannose is absorbed so little, it has essentially no calories and doesn't raise blood sugar. There is quite a lot of information about it online.
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As far as herbs are concerned, Yarrow is very good for clearing up UTI's. Also, Dandelion and Parsley are good for prevention, and Echinacea is a good immune booster. So what I've done is make an herbal tea with 1 part Yarrow, 1 part Dandelion, 1 part Parsley and 1 part Echinacea for a great way to prevent further UTI's. To sweeten I use Stevia, a natural sweetener. You can also add apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and that may clear it up as well. Yes I agree, the cranberry juice should be the non-sugar or low sugar kind. You want to stay away from sugary drinks with any infection.
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Another important thing is make sure she is on a good probiotic...since she's been on so many antibiotics for the UTI's her intestinal "good" bacteria is lacking. My dad's favorite is Ultimate Flora Senior Life by Renew Life. I buy it on Amazon.
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D-Mannose will kill e-coli bacteria. When people here mention cranberry juice please keep in mind it has to be the non-sugar kind (not Ocean Spray)...it's very tart. For women especially Uva Ursi at the first sign can naturally kill UTI. Both Uva Ursi and D-Mannose can be found at your local healthfood store along with the cranberry juice. Good luck, my dad's been hospitalized for UTI's 2ce in the past year - I know how rough it is.
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I put a small amt of baking soda in the kind of water bottle that you can squirt to clean off that area. keep it by the toilet.
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All great comments above...please be careful of the IV antibiotics and have them monitor her closely.... likely to cause Clostridium difficile or C Diff.If is she is on too high a dose...and that my dear is a NIGHTMARE!
What causes a C-diff infection?
these good germs have been killed by an “antibiotic” you may be taking for a different kind of infection, C-diff may grow in your intestines and cause horrendous diarrhea. This is called a C-diff infection. "C Diff" is she is on too high a dose...and that my dear is a NIGHTMARE!
Your intestines have many “good” germs in them that help you digest food. A C-diff germ enters your body when you eat or swallow something that has C-diff on it. The germ moves to your intestines. A healthy person with a normal immune system and normal “good” germs may not get sick. But if your immune system is weak or these good germs have been killed off by an “antibiotic” you may be taking for a different kind of infection"
Good luck, all good ideas above especially cleanliness.
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Taking a daily cranberry pill ended my Mom's constant problems with UTI's.
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One other thing i do is change linen n pillow cases every morning after bm. For some reason its helped. No more bed sores. Also i pulled the briefs and use reusable cotton briefs. Big difference.
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my husband gets uti often. Since i put a drop od betaine in the wash bucket. I use several wash cloths. One time wiping for each wash cloth. Never ever rince a dirty cloth in the wash bucket and reuse. I use wipes first then wash down w wash cloths. I javent had problems since doung all this.
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Well, just had the time to include my story here. Read it if you have time , as it contains more suggestions + warnings, etc...
I have suffered from UTI's since childhood off and on, which at one point called for a bladder irrigation to clear out all bladder infective residue... that worked for years until recently... when UTIs started bothering me again related to incontinence...to the point of having to consult a Urologist... who Rxed a strong $45.-- copay broad spectrum Antibiotic Cefdinir - which I researched before going to the drugstore - finding a slew of side-effects. I then asked the druggist if we could wait until the culture results are in on Monday.. {of course, dumb stuff always happens on weekends} ...but on that Monday the dear Walgreen Pharmacist called and said the Doc stated the infection proved to be E-coli, which is treatable with a $5.-- copay antibiotic - Keflex -, with much fewer side-effects... The untreated weekend I spent drinking lots of vinegar water 1000c filtered water to 30cc 5% Applecider Vinegar - the urinary bleeding stopped, required only 2 doses of "Prodium", same as "AZO" =[ Phenazopiridine Hydrochloride 95mg tablets] which turns your Urin orange and kills the burning pain.... Can’t find it now, but read that one dear blogger gives AZO to their loved one daily... hmmm,
In my experience I've been told and IT STATES IN THE LIERATURE ... NOT TO USE AZO or PRODIUM [both are phenazopyridine Hidrochloride] for LONG-TERM, { i.e. daily} !!! !!! I THINK THAT OFTEN FOLKS THINK IF IT IS JUST AN -OTC- [over the counter] ITEM , IT CAN BE GIVEN WITHOUT Dr. o.k. !!!... AZO is just a pain-pill for the bladder with some nasty side-effects if given long term. ...So please check this out with your Mom’s Doc. It will not kill bacteria !!!
I have long included in daily drinks that Mayonaise Glass Jar-full of 30cc-5% Vinegar to almost 1000cc Water. I also religiously use the Hydrogen peroxide soaked 1/4 to 1/2 papertowel after each void... I also use 91% Isopropyl Alcohol at times... which tends to burn a bit, but dries so fast.. and gives me the feeling of total cleanliness....It and HP also kill the Urin-ODOR. ... I had one small flare-up, that I fought off by drinking 3 Jars Vin-water/day for 3 days... and I have remained UTI free for this past year. The pH in your bladder is one of the most important items to maintain and citrus fruit is not on my menu very often.... Vitamin C can be gotten from other than citrus fruits. When you are UTI prone, that is just one of the foods to cut back on... and like many meds. the elderly take, require one to stay off Grapefruit also. !!!
Also I saw and liked one suggestion, which is to use the bedside commode for sitting purposes, that way the whole area stays cleaner... and can be better monitored... The seat on Bedside Commodes, can be changed from a hard one to a soft material, to increase comfort while sitting. It is a hard road at the end of life... and I appreciate this site to help us with it......... I do wish you all well !!!
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#1: HAVE HER DRINK LOTS OF WATER. The more that's going out of her bladder & urethra to flush the bacteria out, the less that's going to get in.

#2: Regular cleaning. Bathe her perineal area either with a shower or a bath twice a day. Make sure it is dry after cleaning.

#3: As soon as she has a bowel movement, change her diaper & clean her up. Do not let her sit in it.

Are the doctors sure that she has bacterial endocarditis (infection of the heart muscle) due to this UTI? If she has bacterial endocarditis, she should not be discharged from the hospital.

It sounds like you need some help. Look into getting an aide into the home to help you out with bathing & other tasks.
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Dear Litldogtoo ... just re-read your text... you are so right about the cranberry facts... I also wonder about Cranberry and all juices... they have to be heated to kill bacteria or they would spoil sitting on a grocery shelf... so that heating process alone, kills nutrients...etc... Hense about the only benefit I can see for Cranberry juice is it's scientifically tested pH level, that E-coli critters don't like, and the bladder loves... The only other item my family has used for eons... mostly to counteract intestinal upsets/viruses... with much success, is Applecider Vinegar...
That it also worked for UTIs I found out 50 years ago..... It takes some time to get used to, yet in my case I can't stand plain water anymore, it causes me nausea, if I have to drink a lot of it as one does when UTIs cramp one's style...
but Applecider-Vinegar is a taste one can get used to, and none of my grandkids now mind an occassional sip from my water bottle with a 1/2 tsp in it when it's really hot outside... One additional point is that water treated that way will stay fresher and more bacteria free in hot weather, than plain old tap or flitered water sitting around for hours..... I wish you well..!!!
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Great points...and well put, dear Castle... but there are a couple of points that have to be amended...
1]... it depends on the toilet paper,... when made wet with liquid cleansers... some toilet paper will tear at once...then ou have the mess on your fingers...
I have always used 1/2 paper-towel, which allows a stronger more cleansing wipe motion and can be folded to use twice +tossed into a plastic bag lined wastebasket... [the plastic bags from grocery shopping] which can be twisted shut to keep the smell at bay during the day]
And if you see Hydrogen peroxide in large bottles [As I did at Walmart] that is the least expensive item with which to wet those 1/2 paper towels and affect a stronger bacteria killing clean wipe, than any soap and water use.
HP is like water in that it takes a bit to dry on the skin, but that is what you want... Applying the liner or a folded papertowel while the skin is still damp, prolongs the bacteria-killing effect... which is also what you want.... HP wipes are available, [good for traveling] but more expensive...!!!
and ...oooh... the body part to be protected from the E-coli critters always present in stool - is the Urethra, not the vagina as much, The urethra is short, leads up to the bladder sphincter , which is no longer closing tightly, which makes one "incontinent" [leaking out], and at the same time allows those e-coli bacteria to crawl up [leaking in] more easily into the bladder, settling in at the bladder wall and causing continuous low-to high grade UTIs... , meaning UTIs keep flaring up... depending on the acidity level [pH] in your bladder... and here is another often misunderstood item.... Folks think that citrus fruit is acidifying, when actually during digestion turns your pH alkaline, which does not help kill bladder critters... I am sorry, wish it did... google it !
So if you drink cranberry, the acid of which is helpful, mixed with alkalinity producing OJ, they cancel each other out... depending on the ratio of each used in that drink... it will certainly weaken it's effect. I think you own immune system came to your rescue, thank goodness.
What is a good idea and has worked for me... is Cranberry Juice with a few drops of 5% Applecider vinegar... up to 30cc [2Tbsp], if you can stand it in juice or water or use it in salads, dressings, stews other food items.... Applecider
Vinegar is a natural , not a distilled product... it will form a vinegar-mother floating in the bottom of the bottle if older... like a foggy cloud.
If that was put into Apple juice it will turn it to vinegar also after a time... So you do NOT want to use white distilled Vinegar. There are books available on the benefits of Applecider Vinegar...... I never got one...I just use it as told above !!!
Hope this regimen of utter cleanliness and pH care helps some folks to get and stay rid of UTIs... wishing you all well !!!
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Can you put a shot of some "good stuff' in with Cranbery juice that might make it more palatable. Oh I forgot I take coumadin and the two don't mix. Life is no fun when you get old
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Baths, too, can cause UTI's. When a person is bathed, always make sure you don't use the facecloth to wipe the back then the front. Always, always make sure you do the front and everything else before the back.

Improper wiping can cause them...just one 'slip' and you're cooked. Another thought I'm having some of our elders have prolapsed colons, i.e., the interior lining of the colon turns inside out, and this, too, could cause a transfer of bacteria which can make it's way up the vaginal area.

These are serious infections if not controlled. Temperature goes up, which may be one of the causes as to why dementia patients seem to act out more when they have one.

Once again, you cannot just drink regular cranberry juice because of the sugar content. The point of the cranberry tablets, unadulterated and the unadulterated cranberry juice that's pricier is found in this explanation from WEBMD...I've also read the clinical research paper re the pros/cons. It's still up for grabs whether or not it really 'works', but I can tell you it's worked for me.

"Researchers now believe that cranberries contain substances that prevent infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. There are a couple of different theories about how exactly cranberries do this. Some studies show that certain antioxidants in cranberries change the bacteria so that they can't stick to the urinary tract. Another idea is that cranberries create a Teflon-like slippery coating on the urinary tract walls that prevents E. coli from getting a good grip.these will line the bladder, urethra, and whatever else with the necessary "

There is not much cranberry product in plain old cranberry juice. As far as I'm concerned, a person might as well just drink water (which I do, copiously) but I realize the oldest of the older people don't like drinking water. I also realize they may not want to drink the real stuff from a shot glass, quickly. That's why I'm recommending the cranberry tablets. These infections cannot be taken lightly. They are painful, they are dangerous.
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All I know is their fairly common in elderly women. What I didn't know is they can cause delirium and the patient could act incoherent , so the first thing I do is have the dr. Run a urinalysis 9 times out of ten, it's a UTI . Drink plenty of cranberry juice and lots of water maybe antibiotics too.
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Many elderly don't know when they have a UTI, as I've discovered this past week, when my was taken to the ER from the nursing home three times before they discovered the UTI. Once the UTI is present, the only way to get rid of it is antibiotics.

As you well know, it's better to prevent them ... have you asked the doctor for preventative measures? In my younger days, I was given preventive measures. Bactrim was the drug of choice. I can't see why a low dose of this wouldn't help, but I'm not a doctor. I did so well on this, I can't imagine why a doctor wouldn't offer a low dose in this age group who is most often sitting in what causes the problem.

Last year, I had a series of no less than six. In January, I decided to try what I never thought would work...AZO Cranberry Tablets. These are available in larger quantities online. It's been almost five months since my last UTI. They are easily swallowed small capsules.

Also, Google '100% Cranberry Juice'. You need the cold pressed variety with no sugar. I used to drink a shot of this twice a day from an actual shot glass (the stuff is nasty and needs to be taken quickly). While you can dilute it in water, I believe it's best taken in one shot. It's not cheap, with the price being anywhere from $10-30 dollars. My urologist suggested the $30 bottle, but I believe he may have owned stock in the stuff :) I chose the $10 bottle. Some supermarkets have it. I'm sure whole foods has it, along with other 'organic' products.

So, it's either the cranberry drink or the tablets. I'd go with the tablets.

Also, look on WebMD (just saw this when I googled Cranberry Juice) and can't post the url here. They have an explanation as to why this may work.
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All excellent advice. Your wife is unable to stand so you must be changing and cleaning her in bed. as you have heard proper cleaning is the key to all this. Have her on her back and undo the diaper at the sides. Cut if using pull ups. clean her from front to back using one wipe for each swipe, never repeat till you have removed as much as possible. Turn her on her side, whichever is most convenient, and bend her upper leg up. Support on a pillow if more comfortable. Continue to wipe from front to back. When she appears clean seperate the labia and clean the vaginal area thoroughly again using one swipe. Clean the outer lips first and the final wipe goes down the center. Lay the clean diaper under and roll her back and secure the front. Rather graphic I am afraid but you are her husband. If you have help in the future make very sure the aides are using the same technique and doing it properly. Explain to the aides exactly what you want done before they start and tell them ahead of time you will be supervising the first time. They may not like it and feel it is inappropriate for you to be there but be firm. As you have found these infections can become systemic and life threatening.
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All of the above I agree with. However, one final thing to add - try to ensure that your wife doesn't touch herself when she's being changed, and if she does, ensure that her hands are cleaned immediately as they are likely to go into her mouth. My mum who is 89 and has dementia, is often very unco-operative at changing time and can fight tooth and nail with her carers and/or me to remove our hands from what she believes is her private area. Inevitably, her hands touch the wet knickers or her own vagina, and then she will touch her face. This is a sure way to transfer germs of one sort or another - so keeping her fingers away from the source of germs is a good tip. Good luck.
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1st - on topic, yes - use pads if she wears underwear - change often as needed. Thin ones are fine, just check regularly, and change and show her also.

2nd major issue: MD in Nursing Home not attuned to Natural Interventions. This to me is the major reason for unintended but inevitable damage in healthcare, and I struggle to figure out how and where to write about it. It is prejudice and bias on the part of the MDs and academically trained and licenced professionals. Yes, some caregivers who use natural remedies don't know technical names, nor internal body processes - but some pay attention, take notes in natural language, note small signals of change and continue what led to those, and even more importantly, if a risk area becomes apparent, they know this must be addressed promptly, to preserve many key elements, not just the health of the frail individual, but their sanity, for they benefit when immediate needs are addressed, and lose confidence and ties to relationships around them, when requests and needs go unattended. MDs prescribe meds, which can help immediate symptoms, but exacerbate side issues, like creating cravings or adding the very anxiety they are supposed to fix. Good, competent, respectful relationships among clients and all care parties - that must include the voice of those doing direct care, not just supervising them - natural language and remedies matter, and the people who see needs and address them matter. Unfortunately in healthcare, those people are not invited to meetings, no one asks to listen to their reports and sift through for key risks that arise - their reports are simply filed, saved in case of later legal challenge. Many natural caregivers, like midwives or alert home care aides, are the first to see new risks, but if they complain that the supervisors are not addressing them promptly enough, they are branded as troublemakers and are removed or quit. Waste and demoralization of all natural carers - including the family members at home - all insights need attention and tracking, not just those described in numbers.
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Change her panties/diaper more frequently. For urine protection, you can often use a menstrual pad and just replace that. Have a nurse show you how to change for a BM. If your patient has very loose stool, tell the doc to prescribe something to firm it up. Start that med slowly so as not to swing to constipation.
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