Urinary tract infections (UTIs) generally cause symptoms related to bladder irritation:
Burning sensation during urination
Blood in the urine
Abdominal pain (sometimes)
New or worsened incontinence (sometimes)
Older delirium -- a new worsening of the mental state -- as a result of a urinary tract infection. In fact, sometimes new or worsened confusion can be the only outward sign of a UTI or other infection.
adults, especially those with dementia, can also develop
It's a good idea to suspect UTI whenever an older person is having uncomfortable urination or new incontinence. In these cases, make sure the person is seen within 24 hours by his or her doctor or by an urgent care facility.
Consider the case even more urgent if you notice new or worsened confusion or drowsiness and decreased responsiveness. This probably is delirium, a more critical situation: Bring the person in to get urgent medical care without delay.
UTIs are diagnosed by testing urine for blood, white blood cells, and other signs of infection. Doctors also sometimes order a urine culture in order to confirm the presence of bacteria. This allows the lab to test different antibiotics against the bacteria, since some bacteria have become resistant to certain antibiotics.
If a person is delirious or otherwise seems seriously ill, doctors will also check to make sure that there isn't another serious infection or other illness that needs to be addressed.