Ask LH: Can a UTI Turn You ‘Piss-Mad’ Like Logan Roy?

Ask LH: Can a UTI Turn You ‘Piss-Mad’ Like Logan Roy?
Image: HBO
At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

If you’re a Succession fan, you’ll know that after the most recent episode of the hit show, UTI’s are the talk of the town. Most significantly, whether or not a UTI can make you behave the way Logan did.

You may have noticed that during season 3’s fifth episode, ‘Retired Janitors of Idaho’, Logan Roy was not his usual terrible self. In fact, he was somehow worse, all thanks to a UTI.

Yes, you read that right. During the episode, Logan starts to rapidly deteriorate after he forgets to take his medication to treat a urinary tract infection. And by deteriorate, I mean moaning, grimacing and a general loss of coherency (he mistook his own daughter for his estranged wife). Oh, and he also hallucinated a dead cat under his chair. All from a UTI? Yikes.

As Shiv so bluntly states, he’d gone “Piss mad”.

After watching Logan rapidly fall into a state of delirium, you may be wondering, “Can a UTI really affect your lucidity?’ So, in the spirit of this wild Succession episode, this week’s Ask LH is dedicated to figuring out, can a UTI make you ‘piss-mad’ like Logan Roy?

Logan Roy UTI
We saw the extreme symptoms UTIs can cause in Succession season 3. Image: HBO

What is a UTI?

Those of you who don’t know what a UTI is must be the lucky few who have never experienced one. Basically, it’s when bacteria gets caught in your bladder, vagina, kidney or urethra and causes a pretty painful infection.

UTIs are super common, especially in women, babies and older people. So common, in fact, that data suggests one in two women and one in twenty men will get a UTI in their lifetime, according to Better Health.

Part of the reason why they are so common is because of how easy it can be to contract (see: bacteria entering the urethra during or after sex, not washing your parts thoroughly or even from not wiping properly after visiting the loo).

Most UTIs will cause unpleasant symptoms but aren’t overly serious or life-threatening and can be treated pretty easily with antibiotics. In saying that, however, earlier this year former Bond girl and That 70’s Show star Tanya Roberts died after her UTI spread into her kidneys and gallbladder before entering her bloodstream.

That, sadly, is the absolute worst-case scenario, though.

If you are ever worried you may have a urinary tract infection, you should watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Wanting to urinate more often than usual, with great urgency, but only having a few drops
  • A burning pain (some people use the term ‘scalding’) when urinating
  • Cloudy, smelly or bloody urine

To avoid complications, it is important you seek urgent medical attention when you start to get chills, lower abdominal pain, vomiting and fever in addition to the general signs of a UTI.

These are symptoms of a kidney infection and that is not as easy to get rid of, so please get that checked out.

Can they make you hallucinate?

Although the uncomfortable symptoms of a urinary tract infection are unpleasant enough, some people do experience different states of mind because of their UTIs. As it turns out, Logan’s UTI outburst is pretty plausible.

As mentioned earlier, urinary tract infections are common among older people, who seem to sometimes experience additional side effects once the infection is in their system.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, when people with memory impairments or dementia get a UTI, it can sometimes cause a sudden and severe bout of delirium. This means that they can start to become extremely agitated, confused, paranoid and sometimes hallucinate. This makes sense given that Logan Roy is in his 80s and exhibits almost all of these symptoms.

But rest assured, it is very uncommon that someone will go from having the typical symptoms of a UTI to entering a state of psychosis. For people like Logan, the side effects will increase in severity when the infection is left untreated and has a chance to enter the bloodstream.

A common thread between UTIs is dehydration, which can have a multitude of negative effects on the body. These effects can also include hallucination, confusion and agitation. As such, if the person is adequately rehydrated, they can snap out of the delirium pretty quickly – which is what we saw with Logan.

Can cranberry juice help a UTI?

There is a long-standing wives’ tale that you can treat urinary tract infections with cranberry juice. This has some truth to it. As the ABC uncovered, cranberries have a chemical called proanthocyanidins which can be used to stop E. coli from sticking to the urinary tract lining.

However, it also reported that some studies involving humans and their UTIs showed no benefit in using cranberry juice. So drink it was a grain of salt (don’t actually, that would be awful).

The best way to reduce your risk of developing a urinary tract infection is to be hydrated with our best friend, water. Drink plenty of it.

Apart from the countless benefits of drinking water, it helps to flush your urinary system. Although the last possible thing you would want to do whilst having a UTI is to make yourself use the loo, it is important to get all that bacteria out of there.

If you are set on using cranberry juice though, make sure it’s pure, unsweetened juice that is low in sugar to get some of the antioxidants from the cranberries. Otherwise, you’re just drinking juice for no real reason.

You’re better off getting treatment for your UTI from the doctor. Turns out they know how to help you avoid getting a kidney infection; crazy I know.


If you want to watch Logan’s UTI dilemma or just want to see the greatness that is Succession, you can find all three seasons on Binge now.

Comments

Log in to comment on this story!