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My elderly Mum is continually complaining of a burning sensation down below that makes her really uncomfortable. She was prescribed antibiotics before over phone consult (Due to Covid no actual appointments were available) for a UTI but it did nothing. She wears depends as she has lost control of her urination so I feel like she is bound to constantly irritate that area and be prone to infections. Obviously showers are not her favourite due to her memory problem but she typically feels better for a bit after a warm shower. Wet wipes (although hypoallergenic) apparently also burn and irritate her. So it’s hard to keep her super clean! We try changing the depends often but she’s not alerting to me the moment it gets damp.


I need help as to where to go from here. What could be the issue and how do we fix this?


Is there some calming powder? Lotion for down there? Is there better medication? Could it be something else and not UTI? Her urine stinks but there’s no blood. Earlier when she was still fully self dependent (before her memory problem) she had these thin sticks that were to be inserted to her v like a tampon. I don’t know what they were or the purpose and she can no longer recall fully. She just remembers she had them (and I remember too) but not sure what for. She doesn’t have the same doc anymore.


any suggestions are welcome as I hate seeing her in pain.

WOndering if it could be a reaction to the materials in the depends or similar? Or even other clothing/undies washed in a particular detergent? As mom's dementia progressed I caught her putting detergent in the machine the way Rachel Ray plays with EVOO and goes round the pan. Ultimately since Urgent Care turned us away it resulted in an ER visit with dad who had TERRIBLE itching, to be diagnosed with hives which could be as they said from a million different causes. But I have always used the sensitive no fragrance detergent...and thus far no further problems....at least not THAT one LOL. Would she consider a warm bath...?
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Reply to gdaughter
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Your mother may have Lichen sclerosus or Lichen planus, conditions that cause severe itching and pain, in part due to hairline cracks in the fragile skin of the labia, perineum, and inside the vagina. Rubbing the area for relief causes further damage. She really needs to be assessed by a physician. White patches on the affected skin is an indicator. Prescription corticosteroid cream can be effective, with estrogen cream sometimes prescribed as an adjunct therapy.
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Reply to GardeningGal
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Forget wet wipes, powders and lotions. Use wet wash cloth with plain very warm water... as warm as feels good to her (or mild soap and rinse well). Pat thoroughly dry. Spread plain petroleum jelly (Vaseline) evenly over entire genital area.
The petroleum jelly repels moisture, such as urine, keeping it from irritating fragile skin. So-called "medicated" applications may actually make the problem worse.
Only antibiotics can truly cure a urinary tract infection and the typical "burning" sensation it produces, but careful attention to the genital area can prevent possible added skin breakdown.
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Reply to Dosmo13
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When your on antibiotics Probiotics are recommended to keep the yeast infections away that are caused by antibiotics. My Mom was on cranberry tablets to help keep UTIs at bay. They also kept her on a probiotic. She never suffered another UTI in the year before she passed.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Sorry to say, I've listened to this exact complaint from my 94 yo mother with dementia for the past few years now with no cause or solution. She too wears Depends and blames them for everything from a rainy day to a burning va-jay-jay. For 3 months she swore to God the Depends with the flowers were sent by Satan and the cause of a "horrible rash" on her lower stomach that nobody but her could see. She's had quite a few of those "rashes" in various plaves over the years, come to think of it. Anyway, all of her urine tests come back negative and then the "horrible burning" in her vagina seems to go away for awhile. I've bought her every over the counter remedy known to man, including RePhresh, medicated wipes, lotions, potions, powders and I seem to recall eye of newt was thrown in one time too, all to no avail. She drinks next to no fluids bc "they make her pee" so I'm quite sure this contributes heavily to the "horrible burning" down yonder.

So we deal with this about every other month or so for a couple of weeks until some other ailment overrides it. I wish I could give you a remedy but I can't. Neither can my mother's doctor or the aides in her Memory Care Assisted Living facility who help care for her various issues 24/7.

Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation
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Reply to lealonnie1
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If possible you should ask her drs office for a urine collection kit and drop off a specimen to them - some antibiotics will not treat the infection so if it wasn’t the correct one she yes could still have a UTI and the urine should be tested to find the correct bacteria and antibiotic.

Does her skin appear to have any rash or redness as she could have a fungal infection? The depends can also cause this. Urine on the skin could make it flare up and sting or burn her skin - the doctor could prescribe oral and or even external cream for this - maybe they would do a telehealth appointment?

If you haven’t changed any new products then I would suspect either UTI or fungal on her skin both common with the use of depends - along if she isn’t getting enough fluid the urine concentration is burning her skin.
If mom is bedridden or even just at night you could look into the purewick external urine collector as it has really helped my moms skin and collects most of the urine overnight while she is sleeping.
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Reply to Momheal1
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Vagifem? My mom's gyno prescibes that for mom to combat vaginal dryness. Also a probiotic called re-Phresh.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Her urine could stink because it is concentrated... she may not be getting enough fluids daily. If she's resistant to drinking more you can try to increase her intake through grapes, watermelon, cucumbers and jello. I also suggest using a zinc barrier cream, like Desitin but make sure she is dry before applying.

Also agree you should get her rechecked for UTI or yeast infection.
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Reply to Geaton777
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Smelly urine is worrisome. The suggestions here are excellent.
A home remedy to relieve the internal burning would be to dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water for her to drink. It will not help with treating the underlying cause, but will buffer the urine when she pees so that it doesn’t burn. I wouldn’t do this more than twice a day for a day or two, until you can get her checked out.
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Reply to ElizabethY
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She really needs to be tested to see what is going on, my mom ended up with a yeast infection so that could also be a possibility also.
Applying a barrier cream (like zincofax or any of the other diaper creams) should be soothing, or perhaps something like vagisil. A nice sitz bath in epsom salts might be soothing too.
While you are at the drug store pick up some D mannose, that along with ensuring she is getting plenty of fluids should help to keep UTIs at bay.
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Reply to cwillie
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Try testing again for UTI. Foul smelling is an indicator that something is not right.
Also try getting her to drink more fluids or eating foods with a higher fluid content. The more dilute the urine is the less it will burn.
Are you using a barrier cream? That can help. apply gently, lightly by patting it on not rubbing it. The barrier cream will help ease any burning.

To your comment about wishing there were discounts for the incontinence products...there might be. Check to see if she would qualify for Hospice. Hospice will provide supplies like Pull up type or Tab type briefs, ointments, creams, gloves, wipes. Medicare covers these supplies.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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If not cultured the wrong antibiotic will not clear it up. I would not put anything down there without talking to a Dr. Have you thought maybe she is sensitive to Depends. I personally can't wear anything made by Kotex. Maybe try another brand. When I bathed Mom I used a handheld shower head. Great for getting to private places.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Cappuccino42 Aug 3, 2021
Thanks JoAnn29,

Theres a possibility that she’s sensitive to the depends but we have tried many different brands. She has always had a lot of allergies! We have a handheld shower too. At this stage she still washes herself with sensitive soap and cloth while I watch. She seems to be getting it done fine. She says it stings/burns so it sounds like a UTI. I’ll have to talk her into going to the doc again,.. she’s not a fan of going. Wish there were discounts for these pads/depends! I feel like I’m flying through them to keep her somewhat happy.
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