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UTI and cognitive difficulties

Psjeepster's picture
Posts: 63
Joined: Jun 2016

Dad got a UTI that landed him in the hospital for a few weeks. Now we are at a rehab center as he recovers.

They keep re-evaluating for his cognitive function. He gets really frustrated at them for this. This frustration is not normal for Dad. 


Today the therapists that was evaluating him said that she is concerned with his cognitive function. That UTI infection can do harm to the brain and it can be permanent. She would not go into detail because she wants to try to work with him again later when he is not so agvergated. 

I thought his confusion, anxiety, depression, etc. was just because he was not feeling well. I never knew the bacteria could cause brain injury.

GSP2's picture
Posts: 103
Joined: Feb 2015

This is just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

Cognitive function is a number of functions - memory, judgement, the ability to process information

it is a somewhat nebulous term.

It can be affected by stressors, both mental and physical.

Your dad, aside from bladder infections, was functioning at a certain level.

Then hell broke loose and he has new symptoms some of which are related to his cancer.

He's thrust into the medical world, new environment, new medications, new providers,

new issues and challenges. Basically his world is rocked. He is not at his best. He is hurting,

scared, possibly malnourished...

And older folks have a harder time with change and adapting.

There are numerous other reasons for him to have cognitive issues.

His provider may want a CT, thyroid functions, evaluate his medications,

ask for a psychiatry consult etc etc.

It is rare for an infection (unless it is encephalitis/meningitis) to cause brain injury

unless it is so severe to cause sepsis, hypotension, organ malfunction...you get the idea.

I hope this helps a little.

Again, it is not meant as an attempt to diagnose or manage his care.


good luck.


Psjeepster's picture
Posts: 63
Joined: Jun 2016

Going through his medical records I discovered that the UTI resulted in sepsis. 

I really do not feel that he has any brain damage. I feel that he is a little foggy due to the medications he is taking.


Thank you for your input Steve. I will be asking the doctors some more questions based on what you have shared with me.




Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3705
Joined: May 2012

In general I agree with the thrust of what GSP2 noted:  Bacterial causation for his confusion is a long-shot, improbable.  I actually have never heard of it, and my mom was treated by a Geriatrics Group for years.

Extreme sickness, hospitalization, old age, a multitude of drugs: These taken together seem much more likely a cause to me.  They would render most young people confused, for that matter.


lindary's picture
Posts: 711
Joined: Mar 2015

When I first started chemo I spent most of my time after the treatment sleeping or trying to work online.  After a couple of cycles I found that by the time I was to have the next treatment my thought processes were doing better only to be set back with the chemo. When I tried to do the crossword puzzle in our newspaper I could barely get half of it done.  That is when I changed my daily routine to include working the crossword puzzle everyday plus playing some picture search games on Facebook.  I didn't avoid the fuzzy brain but it seemed to lessen it some for me. And I stopped getting upset when I couldn't finish the puzzle. 

Does your dad like crosswords or word searches, or some other kind of puzzles. Get him some books of puzzles from the store. It will give him something to do that will wake the brain up and get it doing some work. 

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