What Is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that can occur anywhere in the urinary system. It can affect the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. Most urinary tract infections are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), a naturally present bacteria in the body.
There are two types of urinary tract infections (UTIs):
- Upper urinary tract infection: The infection affects the ureters or spreads to the kidneys. A kidney infection is a more serious form of UTI that occurs when the bacteria travels up to the kidney from the bladder.
- Lower urinary tract infection: The infection affects the bladder (cystitis or bladder infection), prostate (prostatitis), or urethra (urethritis). The infection is usually caused by intestinal bacteria that have spread from the skin into the urinary tract.
The expert Urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta treat urinary tract infections in both men and women. If you suspect you may have a UTI, contact the office by phone or book online for a consultation and begin immediate treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of a UTI in Males?
The most common UTI symptoms in men are:
- Increased frequency in the urge to urinate (urinary frequency).
- Painful, burning sensation while urinating.
If you have an upper tract UTI or kidney infection, you may also experience:
- Pain in the upper back or side.
- High fever.
- Nausea or vomiting.
If you have a lower tract UTI you may also experience:
- Pressure in the pelvic area.
- Pressure or pain in the lower abdomen.
- Blood or discharge in the urine.
What Are the Causes of a UTI in Males?
A UTI is caused by microbes entering the urinary tract resulting in infection. More often than not, UTIs result from bacteria, although it is also possible that fungi can infect the urinary tract. The most common cause of UTIs is the E. coli bacteria, which live in the bowel.
Certain risk factors will increase the likelihood of you getting a UTI. Demographic categories of those at a higher risk include:
- Men over 50: Older men have an increased probability of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). An enlarged prostate gland will wrap around the bladder neck, making it more difficult to empty the bladder. This prevents all the bacteria from being flushed out during normal bladder emptying, leading to frequent UTIs. Another common problem that can increase the chances of a UTI in older men is fecal incontinence. Using a urinary catheter on a long-term basis can also increase the risk of developing a UTI.
- Younger, sexually active men: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common cause of UTIs in younger men.
- Men who have anal intercourse: Anal sex increases the risk of developing a UTI because it can expose the urethra to more bacteria.
- Men with diabetes: If your immune system is affected by diabetes, it will put you at a higher risk of UTIs.
- Men with kidney stones
How Is a Male UTI Treated?
Your provider will first want to diagnose the UTI. Then, they will take a urine sample and send it off to the lab. There, a urine culture will evaluate bacterial growth over several days.
Once a UTI is confirmed, your provider will prescribe a course of antibiotic medications. The duration of antibiotic treatment will depend on the location and severity of the infection.
- Lower tract infection: 5-7 days
- Upper tract infection: 3 weeks or longer
- Severe infection: Possible hospital treatment, including intravenous antibiotics
How Can Men Prevent a UTI?
You can do several things to prevent bacterial spread and infection that leads to UTIs in men:
- Drink plenty of fluids. This will encourage urination and will flush out many harmful bacteria.
- Urinate when you need to. Waiting to go to the toilet can cause bacteria to collect in the bladder or urinary tract.
- Use condoms. Safe sex practices can help guard against bacterial infections caused by sexual contact.
- Treating prostate problems. Getting treatment for BHP can help with urine flow and reduce the risk of UTI.