DEAR DOCTOR K: I am a woman in my 80s. I went to my doctor because I suddenly developed back pain. It turned out to be a urinary tract infection that had spread to my kidneys. Why didn't I have any other, earlier symptoms?
DEAR READER: If you had urinary tract infections (UTIs) when you were younger, you probably remember the burning, pain and intense urge to urinate frequently. But these symptoms don't always appear in older adults. UTIs commonly occur when bacteria from the rectum (such as E. coli) infect the skin around the opening of the urethra (the tube leading to the bladder).