Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can affect men as well as women. If you are a male experiencing symptoms of a possible urinary tract infection, seeking medical care can help you find relief.
Our board-certified urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta know just how to provide the treatment you need. For your convenience, we have offices located throughout Georgia so that you can receive immediate treatment. Schedule an appointment with us today!
In the meantime, we have provided some basic information regarding this condition.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that can occur anywhere in the urinary system, including your 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: This type of infection affects your ureters or spreads to your kidneys. A kidney infection is a more serious form of UTI that occurs when bacteria travels up to the kidney from the bladder.
- Lower urinary tract infection: This infection affects the bladder (cystitis or bladder infections, a bladder infection is a more specific type of UTI), prostate (prostatitis), or urethra (urethritis-which drains urine from your bladder). The infection is usually caused by intestinal bacteria that have spread from the skin into the urinary tract.
When males get UTIs, they are considered complicated infections.
What Are the Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections in Males?
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, you should be aware of the following symptoms. The most common UTI symptoms in men are:
- Frequent urination
- Painful, burning sensation while urinating
If you have an upper tract UTI or kidney infection, you may also experience:
- Pain in your upper back or side
- High fever
If you have a lower tract UTI and bladder infection, you may also experience:
- Pressure in the pelvic area
- Pressure and/or pain in your lower abdomen
- The presence of discharge or blood in your urine
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seeking medical assistance can help you make a full recovery.
What Are the Causes of a Urinary Tract Infection in Males?
A urinary Tract Infection in males is caused by microorganisms—generally, bacteria entering the urinary system resulting in infection.
Although not as common, 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 your lower intestines.
Risk Factors for Developing a UTI
There are certain risk factors that will increase your chances of getting a UTI. The following factors can put you at increased risk:
- Men over 50: Older men are more likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “structural problems in the urinary tract, such as enlarged prostate,” can increase your risk.
An enlarged prostate gland will wrap around the bladder neck, making it more difficult to empty the bladder. This hinders all of the bacteria from being flushed out during normal bladder emptying, resulting in recurrent or 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.
- Men with diabetes: If your immune system is affected by diabetes, you will be at higher risk of contracting a UTI.
- Younger men who are sexually active: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are the most common UTI causes in younger men.
- Men who have anal intercourse: Having anal sex can expose your urethra to more bacteria increasing the risk of developing a UTI.
- Men with kidney stones
Tests Used to Identify a UTI
Your provider will first want to diagnose the UTI.
After reviewing your medical history, they will take a urine sample from your urine test and send it to the lab to identify the bacteria causing the infection. There, urine cultures will be used to evaluate bacterial growth over several days.
How Is a Male UTI Treated?
Once a UTI is confirmed, your healthcare provider prescribes antibiotics (usually oral antibiotics). The duration of specific antibiotics used during your treatment will depend on the location and severity of the infection.
Below you will find a list of the different locations of UTIs and how long it usually takes to resolve these infections.
- Lower tract infection: 5-7 days
- Upper tract infection: 3 weeks or longer
- Severe and complicated urinary tract infections (complicated UTIs): Possible hospital treatment, including intravenous antibiotics
How Can Men Prevent UTIs?
There are several steps that men can take to prevent urinary tract infections, including:
- Urinate when you need to. Waiting to go to the toilet can cause bacteria to collect in the bladder or urinary tract.
- Drink plenty of fluids. This will encourage urination and will flush out many harmful bacteria.
- Use condoms. Safe sex practices can help guard against bacterial infections caused by sexual contact.
- Keep your genital area clean. Developing a good hygiene routine can help prevent infection.
- Treating prostate problems. Getting treatment for BHP can help with urine flow and prevent infections.
Many people also believe that drinking cranberry juice bought from their local grocery store will prevent them from getting a UTI, eliminate the infection, and/or speed up their recovery process. However, taking cranberry extract supplements rather than cranberry juice can decrease your risk of developing a UTI.
Contact Us at Urology of Greater Atlanta
Our team of board-certified doctors at Urology of Greater Atlanta is available to answer all of your UTI and bladder infection questions, as well as provide practical tips to prevent reoccurrence.