Why Does A UTI Cause Confusion

by Vanessa Howell 

UTIs have several unpleasant symptoms. However, one of the more dangerous symptoms is confusion. Why does a UTI cause confusion? We’ll address why along with the risk factors and signs.


Why Does A UTI Cause Confusion?

In the elderly, UTIs accompanied by confusion are common. Older men and women experience this additional symptom of UTIs because as we age, our immune systems respond differently than they did when we were young. For example, instead of feeling pain, the elderly can exhibit signs of confusion, withdrawal, and/or agitation. As a result, UTI psychological symptoms are a real concern. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of UTIs, risk factors, and how to treat a UTI. 


Symptoms of UTIs

symptoms of UTI

Some of the most common signs of a UTI include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Strong and frequent need to urinate
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Pressure or cramping in abdomen or groin
  • Red or pink tinged urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills


In addition, the elderly experience other symptoms of UTIs. Some of those include:

  • Confusion 
  • Agitation
  • Lethargy
  • Urinary retention
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dizziness and loss of coordination 
  • Incontinence 
  • Falling 


Why does a UTI cause confusion?

Doctors are not sure why UTIs cause symptoms such as confusion in the elderly.

One theory is that the blood vessels that supply the brain are weaker and may be more likely to allow the infection to pass to the nervous system.

Another theory is that the additional stress UTIs place on an elderly patient’s body can result in confusion and abrupt changes in behavior. This can be dangerous and cause falls, hallucinations, and confusion.

For this reason—and coupled with the fact that elderly people’s immune systems are weaker and respond less effectively to a UTI than younger, healthier people—preventing UTIs in the elderly is especially important. 


Risk Factors of UTI

Risk Factors of UTI 


There are several risk factors for getting a UTI. Some of them include:

  • Being female
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause or low estrogen levels
  • Sexual activity (in women)
  • Different kinds of birth control
  • Suppressed immune system (Diabetes, etc.)
  • Catheter use 
  • Dementia
  • Incontinence of bladder and bowel 
  • Urinary retention


In the elderly, the most common risk factors for a UTI are a suppressed (or weakened) immune system and catheter use. Dementia and incontinence are two other major risk factors. Urinary retention also becomes more prevalent with age, especially in men as the prostate gland enlarges. While it is not always possible to eliminate all risk factors for UTIs, there are prevention and treatment options for UTIs in the elderly. 

Happee UTI prevention supplement

One prevention option is to take a UTI prevention supplement. Happee is a UTI prevention supplement with simple ingredients including d-mannose—a naturally occurring simple sugar found in fruits and vegetables—and acerola cherry. Happee supplements are in the form of berry-flavored, chewable tablets. They are vegan and gluten-free. When people take Happee as directed, they will be less likely to develop a UTI.


How to Treat a UTI

The most effective way to treat a UTI is to take antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. If someone is experiencing confusion due to a UTI, they should see a doctor immediately. While antibiotics are effective they can lead to other symptoms such as yeast infections. Therefore, using prevention over treatment is desirable.

Drinking plenty of water is also important when experiencing a UTI. Additionally, consuming probiotics can help restore balance. Yogurt contains probiotics, which are naturally occurring, helpful bacteria. Probiotics help stop the harmful bacteria—that cause UTIs in the first place—from spreading and multiplying. As a result, yogurt helps balance helpful and harmful bacteria in the urinary tract, and slows the spread of infection.


Preventing UTIs is an important part of keeping your family, patients, and/or yourself safe. In particular, elderly people can experience psychological symptoms as a result of the infections that cause UTIs. These symptoms are not only uncomfortable, they are also dangerous. The psychological symptoms of UTIs include confusion, which can lead to falls, dizziness, and loss of coordination. As a result, it is imperative to treat UTIs quickly.



Aging Care, Healthline, Mayo Clinic, Medical News Today, A Place For Mom


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