Schizophrenics who relapse more likely to have UTIs, researchers say

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that schizophrenia patients who relapse are more likely to have a urinary tract infections than healthy patients or patients whose illness is under control.

The study analyzed the UTI rates in 57 hospitalized patients who had relapsed, 40 stable outpatients and 39 healthy control patients. Results showed that 35 percent of relapsed patients had UTIs, while only 5 percent of outpatients and 3 percent of controls suffered from them.

Which comes first: relapse or UTI?

Researchers aren't sure if the UTI or the relapse happens first, but they say the association indicates patients should be tested for UTIs.

Relapse can produce symptoms that might interfere with good hygiene or adequate hydration, says Dr. Brian J. Miller, psychiatrist and schizophrenia expert at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. Miller notes that he has seen patients' psychiatric symptoms improve just by treating a UTI with antibiotics. UTIs, it appears, could be a trigger for the symptoms.

UTIs and mental health

According to Medical Xpress, the association between UTIs and mental health has also been seen with dementia patients — a significant number of them experience worsening aggressive behavior or psychotic symptoms while having a UTI. The symptoms seem to improve when they are treated.

"The question we are asking is, 'Does that same phenomena seem to take place in patients with schizophrenia?'and we are finding evidence that it does," Miller said.

Miller also says that some antipsychotic medications can reduce urination, which might increase the risk of UTIs.

Source: Medical Xpress

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