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Men’s Health: What You Should Know About Urinary Tract Infections

by Carolyn Lee Nov 1, 2021

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UTI in men

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is commonly referred to as a bladder infection.  

While bladder infections are more common in women, men get them too, and they can be uncomfortable, and in some instances, painful. The urinary tract system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. These parts help to make and remove urine from the body. 

The unhealthy build-up of bacteria causes a UTI in any part of the urinary system. Two types of UTIs include an upper-tract or lower tract infection. An upper-tract infection occurs in the ureters or kidneys, meanwhile a lower tract infection happens in the bladder, prostate, or urethra. 

Let’s take a closer look at urinary tract infections in men and what you can do. 

What are some of the common symptoms of UTI? 

Some men may not display any symptoms of a UTI. However, most men who are experiencing a UTI may have the following symptoms: 

1. Pain, burning or discomfort during urination or just after 

2. Blood in urine 

3. Cloudy urine with a strong unpleasant odour 

4. Pain in the upper back or the side 

5. Difficulty urinating or frequent urge to urinate 

6. Pain in the central lower part of the abdomen 

7. Fever with or without chills 

8. Nausea and vomiting 

Who’s at risk for a UTI? 

Older men, especially those over the age of 50, have a higher risk of having a UTI. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia are the most common causes of UTIs in younger men. Most UTI cases are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli, which is naturally present in the body. When the bacterium gets into the urinary tract through the urethra and starts multiplying, it can lead to a UTI. 

Other risks factors include an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), diabetes, kidney stones, an abnormal narrowing of the urethra, and being uncircumcised. Men who have had recent urinary tract surgery, a past UTI diagnosis or who’ve been immobile for long periods are also at risk. 

Can do to prevent a UTI? 

There are a few steps that men can consider that may help to reduce the risk of having a UTI. These steps include: 

1. Drinking plenty of liquids, especially water 

2. Wearing condoms during sexual intercourse 

3. Urinating when you need to 

4. Cleaning the genitals properly before and after sex 

5. Wiping from the front to back 

6. Urinating after sex to remove any bacteria passed during intercourse 

7. If uncircumcised, carefully cleaning the area under the foreskin after showering 

How is a UTI diagnosed? 

Your doctor can diagnose a UTI by performing a physical examination. You will also be asked about your medical history, and a laboratory test of your urine sample is also required.  

Your doctor may conduct a digital rectal exam (DRE) if they believe an enlarged prostate gland could be the cause. A DRE is a simple procedure that doctors use to examine the lower rectum and other internal organs. 

What are the treatment options? 

Treating UTIs in men can be complicated and is dependent on the cause of the infection. Once diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. Other drugs may be recommended to reduce the pain and burning while urinating. 

If you believe that you are exhibiting symptoms of a UTI, consult your doctor immediately. It is important to prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys or the upper urinary tract. 

Your doctor will conduct an examination and tests and prescribe a course of treatment for you. 

If you don’t have a doctor, search Find Yello for medical practitioners and related services near you! 

Sources: HealthlineMayo ClinicWebMDMedical News Today and Harvard Health