Lack of association between bacteriuria and symptoms in the elderly

Am J Med. 1986 Dec;81(6):979-82. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(86)90391-8.


In a study of bacteriuria in elderly (mean age 85 years, range 69 to 101), mostly middle- and upper-class Jewish subjects, attempts were made to determine if bacteriuria without dysuria is otherwise asymptomatic. Seventy-two subjects (59 women and 13 men) without dysuria were questioned about other urinary symptoms (incontinence, frequency, urgency, suprapubic pain, flank pain, fever) and symptoms indicating a lack of well-being (anorexia, difficulty in falling asleep, difficulty in staying asleep, fatigue, malaise, weakness) when they were with and without bacteriuria. Twenty-two subjects had bacteriuria that resolved spontaneously; bacteriuria subsequently developed in 24 nonbacteriuric subjects; and 26 subjects had bacteriuria that resolved with antimicrobial therapy. Subjects occasionally reported urinary symptoms (especially incontinence) and commonly reported symptoms indicating a lack of well-being when they were with and/or without bacteriuria. However, no differences in symptoms were found when bacteriuric subjects were compared with themselves when they were nonbacteriuric. Thus, bacteriuria without dysuria in the elderly appears to be asymptomatic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Urinary / therapeutic use
  • Bacteriuria / complications*
  • Bacteriuria / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications
  • Urinary Incontinence / complications
  • Urination Disorders / etiology*
  • Urine / microbiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Urinary