When people think about UTIs, they usually associate women with the common infection. However, men can get UTIs too. Although its less common, the infection can be just as painful and annoying for men.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that causes pain and burning when urinating. The infection can happen in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are more common in women than men. This is because the urethra is shorter in women, making it easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract.
Most UTIs are caused by simple bacteria that live in the digestive tract. These bacteria can enter the urethra and travel to the bladder, causing an infection. UTIs can also be caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Let's take a closer look at UTIs in men, including the symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
What Really is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that causes pain and burning when urinating. The infection can happen in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
A UTI is usually caused by bacteria, such as E. coli, that enter the urinary system through the urethra. The bacteria then multiply and cause an infection that irritates the lining of the urinary tract and causes pain and burning when urinating.
The symptoms of a UTI can vary depending on where the infection is located. For example, if the infection is in the kidneys, the symptoms may include fever, back pain, and vomiting. If the infection is in the bladder, the symptoms may include pain when urinating, cloudy urine, and a strong urge to urinate.
Can a UTI Be Dangerous in Men?
If you think you have a UTI, it's important to see a doctor so that the infection can be properly treated.
Untreated UTIs can lead to serious health problems, such as kidney damage, and can even be life-threatening. In men, UTIs are usually not as serious as they are in women, but they can still cause serious health problems if they are not treated properly.
Your kidneys are responsible for:
- Filtering your blood
- Removing waste and excess water from your body
- Balancing the levels of electrolytes in your body
- Producing hormones that help regulate your blood pressure
If a UTI spreads to your kidneys, it can cause kidney damage and lead to kidney damage, or in rare cases, kidney failure. Kidney damage can lead to a build-up of toxins in your blood and can cause serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, anemia, and even heart disease.
Symptoms of a UTI in Men
The symptoms of a UTI in men are similar to the symptoms in women. They include:
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine
- Strong urge to urinate
- Pain in the lower abdomen or back
If you have any of these symptoms, it's important to see a doctor so that the infection can be properly treated. When left untreated, UTIs can lead to serious health problems.
What Causes a UTI in Men?
The painful condition known as a urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder.
The most common bacteria responsible for UTIs are E. coli, Klebsiella, Enterococcus, Proteus, and Pseudomonas. These bacteria are normally found in the intestines or on the skin and enter the urethra through poor hygiene, sexual intercourse, or catheter use.
The bacteria then travel up the urethra and into the bladder, where they begin to multiply. The body responds to the infection by triggering an inflammatory response in the bladder, which can cause pain and burning during urination.
2. Prostate Problems
Another potential cause of UTIs in men is an enlarged prostate. The prostate is a gland that surrounds the urethra and produces semen. An enlarged prostate can put pressure on the urethra and make it difficult to empty the bladder completely, which can allow bacteria to grow.
When the prostate becomes enlarged, it is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a common condition that affects men as they age. While BPH is not cancerous, it can cause urinary problems and make UTIs more likely.
3. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are another potential cause of UTIs. Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in the kidneys. They can block the urinary tract and make it difficult to urinate. This can allow bacteria to grow and cause an infection.
Those who have a history of kidney stones are more likely to develop UTIs. Kidney stones are more common in men than women, but they can occur in people of any age and gender.
4. Sexual Intercourse
Sexual intercourse is a common cause of UTIs in both men and women. During sex, bacteria can enter the urethra and travel up into the bladder. This is more likely to occur if there is not enough lubrication during sex. Peeing after sex can help flush out any bacteria that has entered the urethra.
Catheters are tubes that are inserted into the body to drain urine from the bladder. They are commonly used in hospitals and nursing homes. Catheters can increase the risk of UTIs because they can allow bacteria to enter the urinary tract if they are not inserted properly or if they are not cleaned properly.
6. Poor Hygiene
Poor hygiene can also lead to UTIs. Bacteria can enter the urethra through the opening of the penis. Poor hygiene can also allow bacteria to grow on the skin around the anus, which can then spread to the urethra.
It is important to practice good hygiene, especially after sex and after going to the bathroom. This includes washing the hands, wiping from front to back, and avoiding tight-fitting clothing.
Prevention and Treatment
For men, UTIs are often caused by sexual activity, so it is recommended to urinate after sex and to practice good hygiene.
Other recommendations include:
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Urinating when you feel the urge to go
- Wiping from front to back after using the toilet
- Avoiding constipation
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothing
- Disinfecting catheters or other medical equipment
If you have a history of UTIs, your doctor may prescribe a low-dose antibiotic to take after sex. The antibiotic helps prevent UTI-causing bacteria from entering your urinary tract.
If you have a UTI, treatment typically involves antibiotics. It is important to take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if your symptoms go away. If you don't, the infection may come back, and be more antibiotic-resistant due to the partial treatment and could be more difficult to treat.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.