Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in schizophrenia patients experiencing relapse. In fact, the risk of developing a UTI during schizophrenic relapse is 29 times higher than for healthy individuals.
The study looked at the rates of UTIs in 57 relapsed hospital patients, 40 stable outpatients, and 39 healthy controls. The findings showed that 35 percent of the relapsed patients had UTIs, compared to only five and three percent for the outpatients and healthy controls, respectively.
Schizophrenic relapses often cause delusions and other symptoms that affect personal hygiene and hydration, the two factors that can affect the risk of UTIs. On the other hand, urinary tract infections have been found to be a trigger for relapse.
Alternative studies have found worsened dementia-related problems in patients with UTIs, but once treated, these problems improved as well. Additionally, babies born to mothers suffering from a serious infection during pregnancy have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.
In general, schizophrenics have a shorter lifespan than the general public and have a higher risk of death from infectious diseases.
Recurrent urinary tract infections have been found to be associated with acute psychosis in schizophrenia patients. The researchers reviewed medical data from the subjects who were hospitalized for acute nonaffective psychosis, affective psychosis, or alcohol detoxification, comparing them against healthy controls.
The prevalence of UTIs was 21 percent in nonaffective psychosis, 18 percent in affective psychosis, 12 percent in alcohol use disorders, and three percent in healthy controls.
The study concluded that recurrent urinary tract infections are more common in schizophrenia patients with acute psychosis, compared to other disorders. Being aware of the existing risk can help physicians implement preventative measures in order to reduce the risk of future urinary tract infections.