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Thread: UTI cognitive effects

  1. #1

    UTI cognitive effects

    I had a UTI with a 101 max temp (while taking Advil) for a few days recently. I had other symptoms for about a week.

    Now that I am better I realize I had significant cognition changes. It could take me hours to do something because I kept losing focus. And when I felt a bit better I would think I felt normal, but really didn't. Several people told me I had long conversations with them that I have zero memory of now. And I was careless and crashed into things.

    Any tips to lessen these effects the next time I get a UTI?
    Last edited by xsfxsf; 12-04-2012 at 11:38 AM.

  2. #2
    This is really common. The more advanced the infection, the more likely you are to have the cognitive effects. The older you are, the more likely you are to have the cognitive effects. If you take other medicines that can make you tired or affect thinking, this can make the confusion worse.

    How to avoid it? Probably can't, but try....

    1) Treat the UTI as soon as possible.

    2) Minimize other medications that make you sleepy/affect thinking (ask your doctor which medicines do this.

    3) Sleep.

    4) Make sure you don't get dehydrated (which can make you more confused).

    5) Tylenol to get the fever down (fever can make you more confused).

  3. #3
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    I've never had it but could that have been sepsis? Each infection makes us just a little weaker I think! Take care!
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  4. #4
    UTI prevention is the key.

    Also try to remember what your first symptom was before the decline. It is also good to know what your urine culture bacteria was. Many members here have indicated that D Mannose is great at preventing UTIs if the bacteria is E Coli.

    Seek care once you notice the symptoms; get a urinalysis and urine C&S, wait for the culture results before being treated. Report any other symptoms to your provider for documentation. In the time of antibiotic resistance it is best to treat only if symptoms exist and a corresponding culture result.


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    San Diego, CA, USA
    I think that cognitive impairment is part of it for me. But I am having a lot of trouble putting it into words. An analogy is that I can usually tell when my bladder needs to empty, but I have no idea how to express how I know this.

    I went for decades not even thinking UTI unless I had a good fever going. Now I try to be hyper aware of any change in my urine (cloudy, smelly, feel the need to go, leaky), or just a feeling my urine is not right. If anything is abnormal I do my best to consider UTI. If that seems like a UTI could be an the problem, I change to a new catheter, do a d-mannose flush (1/2 teaspoon in 8 oz of water), and force water. Life is so much easier if UTIs are caught first thing.

    The thing that converted me was several days in the hospital with a UTI 11 years ago. I did a great job of ignoring the early symptoms, and I definitely became cognitively impaired. My wife insisted we go to the doctor. He sent me to the emergency room. I went to the wrong hospital. But they took me, and kept me for a week. It was pretty serious. This convinced me to make a bit more effort to focus on the early signs while I could still think semi clearly. I also became a d-mannose convert. Knock on wood, I have not had a UTI that required antibiotics since that time.
    T4 complete, 150 ft fall, 1966. Completely fused hips, partially fused knees and spine, heterotopic ossification. Unsuccessful DREZ surgery about 1990. Successful bladder augmentation using small intestine about 1992. Normal SCI IC UTI problems culminating in a hospital stay in 2001. No antibiotics or doctor visits for UTI since 2001: d-mannose. Your mileage may vary.

  6. #6
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    BC Canada
    The cognative impairment is usually one of my first symptoms along the leg spasm and bowel issues, have done so many stupid things because of uti related cognative impairment.

  7. #7
    I actually think that many of us wait too long to treat our UTIs.

    If my father waited until he had a fever before treating his UTI, he would be totally confused, unable to move and I would have to call an ambulance to take him to the hospital. That's what happens when you are 70, and have a brain that has been through a bad car accident.

    We now know his early signs of a UTI, and then encourage him to drink drink drink... and if the symptoms progress (smelly urine/urge/frequency/sediment/blood) to feeling crappy or very frequent urge or spasms then we start treatment. Waiting for a fever is too late. Waiting until you are confused is WAY too late.... but sometimes it happens fast.

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