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How would constipation cause a urinary tract infection?

8 answers | Last updated: Oct 04, 2015
charlie marie asked...

My Mom is 88 and has advanced Alzheimers'. Her doctors say her constipation triggers her bladder or kidney infections. I am curious as to how this could happen. Thanks.


Caring.com User - Jennifer Serafin, N.P.
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Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.
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Constipation can increase the chances of bladder infections in two ways. First, if stool gets stuck in the rectum, it inhibits the emptying of the bladder, which can cause some See also:
What is the best way to help my mom with constipation?

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people to retain urine. Urine retention leads to stagnant urine, which is a breeding ground for microbial growth, which will lead to a bladder infection.

The other way that constipation can lead to bladder infections is if someone takes too many laxatives to treat the constipation, they can get diarrhea. Diarrhea stool can easily contaminate the perineal area, since the rectum is only a few inches from the urethra, the opening of the bladder. Also, after female menopause, there is a decrease in the protective normal vaginal bacteria, so if stool bacteria gets into that area it can easily grow and travel into the bladder.


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cc49 answered...

wow this is a complete merry go-round answer if u do this you'll get that, if you don't do this you'll end up with that. and all that is a UTI which i was talking about that my mom gets constantly at the nursing home geeezzzz. there's no happy ending to UTI's is there????


CA-Claire answered...

Actually, recurrent UTI's and constipation can also indicate an insufficient intake of water. This is a problem with seniors, who either forget to drink water, have forgotten how little they have had, or they realize the more they drink, the more they go to the bathroom. All in all, it's a merry-go-round. No easy answers.

To help my father, we have him on stool softeners, have him drink at least 2 bottles of water a day, and on a diuretic.


cc49 answered...

Hi, I can't get her to drink water at all ..."ive tried bottled water she doesn't like it, she hates the water they have up there...i am lost as to what to do. I've tried flavored water nothing!!! any info/ideas would be great


CA-Claire answered...

Does she cough when drinking liquids? You could try mixing a little knox gelatin in, or really, really diluted jello in her favorite flavor and call it a milk shake. She may be from an area where the water was 'unsafe' to drink. Try any clear liquid - broth, iced tea?


Ms1985 answered...

Wow Ive been having this problem for 15yrs and Im only 28! I often feel that my bowels get stuck right by my tail bone area. Is that related??? What are your thought about D mannose?


help mom answered...

Try filling the water bottles with water that your mom was used to drinking and she may be ok with that. My mom is also in a home and gets uti's, we have to try anything we can think of to help our mothers.


Shinze answered...

Thank you for confirming what I had noticed with my mother, which is that constipation and UTI's seemed to go hand in hand. When relating this to the doc, she saw no correlation between the two. Now I know it is true! Mother is 91. She now takes Miralax to keep things moving and has not had a UTI in a long time, and she has had a lifetime of both. Miralax is not like ex-lax or even stool softener. She has more normally formed stools and no more problems with things backing up. It is also helpful to use a shower hose to rinse her off in that area, when she is on her standing lift, along with frequent changes in diaoer even if she has not wet, since bacteria can easily form in warm areas.