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Dr Brims
Dr Brims, U.S. Licensed Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 9611
Experience:  MD
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Could chronic urinary tract infections cause mood swings, hallucinations,

Resolved Question:

Could chronic urinary tract infections cause mood swings, hallucinations, delusional behaviour, etc.? My mother who is over 90 years old recently was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in the urinary tract which had advanced toward pyelonephritis. Fortunately there does not appear to be a major damage to the kidneys, but I am wondering if her recent changes in behaviour and confusion could have been precipitated by a chronic urinary tract problem. She has always been very urine retentive, going very infrequently. We call her the "camel" because of this, but I am just wondering if perhaps this could be some of the cause of her confusion recently and sudden mood changes and anxiety. Also, after she has been cleared of the acute infection how can I keep this from happening again. I would prefer a more alternative approach than conventional meds because of her age. Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr Brims replied 6 years ago.

Dr B :

Hello, welcome to Justanswer, I will try to assist you with your medical question, and any medical information you seek

Dr B :

Bacterial infections in the elderly, especially UTI's may cause delirium, which in turn causes hallucinations, delusions and behavior changes. Sometimes these symptoms last, and sometimes they are temporary

JACUSTOMER-icnq9jdb- :

Dr B,

Dr B :

Yes, I am here

JACUSTOMER-icnq9jdb- :

Dr. B, do you have an opinion about my supposition that my mother's confusion, delusional behaviour, etc. MAY have come in part from a chronic situation, perhaps a low-grade continuous infection in her system. I have wondered for some time if the GBS experience had long-term effect with her immune system and perhaps she would be more vulnerable to such infections.

Dr B :

These symptoms rarely occur from chronic infections, until they become serious , so it is unlikely

Dr B :

It is usually a significant insult, and chronic infections rarely cause this until they have progressed

JACUSTOMER-icnq9jdb- :

All right, how about the supposition that the GBS experience has caused some dementia type symptoms for her OR TIAs causing delusional behaviour and mood swings that extremely sudden.

Dr B :

The GBS is less likely, but TIA's may definitely cause this

JACUSTOMER-icnq9jdb- :

TIAs may occur without any obvious physical signs such as other symptoms of major strokes, correct?

Dr B :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-icnq9jdb- :

So in some cases, a person may have TIAs which cause dementia type confusion or delusional behaviour which may occur suddenly, but there may not be obvious lasting signs, perhaps?

Dr B :

Yes, that is correct

JACUSTOMER-icnq9jdb- :

Dr. B. I am very grateful for your answers and consideration of my questions. I only have one more. How do I help my mother avoid further UTIs when she is so elderly and frail?

Dr B :

Honestly, there is not much you can do, elderly women are prone to UTI's. Some people use macrobid, (an antibiotic) to prevent them, but only when they develop UTI's very often, otherwise, I would not advocate it

JACUSTOMER-icnq9jdb- :

OK, so good diet, good hygiene, just stay as healthy as possible and watch for symptoms, right? If there are symptoms, then seek conventional treatment as needed. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX I do appreciate your chat.

Dr B :

That is correct

Dr B :

You're welcome
Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns, or need more information

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Dr Brims and 8 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dr. B, Sorry to bother you, but I have a follow up question about my mom's condition. She is leaving the hospital within the next day or two, but she has still not been able to urinate on her own. They have had to use a straight cath to get the bladder emptied. Should I ask for a urology consult before she leaves the hospital or a neurological workup because I really have no idea why she cannot void on her own. All of the tests for TIAs, menningitis, GBS, etc. have come back clean. There is no sign of chronic infection anywhere. I need advice on how to proceed. I don't want her coming home with a Foley because of the UTI dangers. Any info would be gratefully accepted. Thank you. RJ Holmes
Expert:  Dr Brims replied 6 years ago.
Hello, no bother at all
I think she would benefit from a urology consult before she goes home, it may help diagnose what the reasons are for her voiding problems, especially with her history of UTI's. They should also make sure she is well hydrated
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She has been well hydrated in hospital. I will ask for the urology consult today. IF I have to take her home today without the consult results, any suggestions about getting her void without a cath? There does not appear to be any reason for the hestitation and she does have the "urge" or reflex to urinate. She is aware of the need, but does not release. She has no "history" of UTIs, this is her first one. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr Brims replied 6 years ago.
There is nothing you can do to get her to void if she goes home without a catheter, and it is dangerous because she may go into urinary retention, which you want to avoid. You would have to straight cath her, which is more likely to cause an infection than leaving the catheter in for a few days. There may be an obstruction that is causing these symptoms, so a urology consult would be recommended
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