Things work differently for both men and women when it comes to getting urinary tract infections (UTIs). These infections are far more common in women; in fact, one out of five women will become infected at some point in her life, while most men will never develop a UTI. However, it does not mean men cannot develop a urinary tract infection at all. While young men rarely develop one, it is relatively more common in elderly men. Your risk of developing UTIs increases after the age of 50.
What Increases Men's Risks for UTIs?
Certain factors and underlying conditions can increase risk of urinary tract infection in men. For instance:
- Enlarged Prostate: You may not be able to empty your bladder completely due to an enlarged prostate. Over time, some urine accumulates in the bladder, providing bacteria with a feasible environment to grow and cause infection.
- Urinary Catheter: In so many cases, a thin hollow tube called a catheter is required to help you pass urine. Having a catheter puts you at a greater risk of developing urinary tract infections.
- Kidney or Bladder Problems: Having kidney or bladder problems also increases risk of developing a urinary tract infection in men. Kidney stones, for instance, keep you from emptying your bladder completely, giving bacteria a chance to grow in stagnant pool of urine.
- Weakened Immune System: If your immune system is weak due to AIDs, chemotherapy, or another reason, you are more likely to develop different types of infections, including urinary tract infections.
What's more, you may end up developing a UTI if you have had a recent urinary tract procedure, such as insertion of a small camera to examine urethra and bladder or a tube to drain your bladder. While these are some of the most common causes of developing a UTI, you may still develop one even when there is no problem with the kidney, bladder, immune system, or prostate.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection in Men
The symptoms of UTIs are usually the same for both men and women. An infection in men will make it difficult for them to urinate without burning pain. Some experience a constant urge to urinate and have cloudy, bloody, or bad-smelling urine. Lower back and abdominal pain may also be present. However, one symptom is usually specific to men, and that is fluid seeping from the penis. You should see your doctor immediately if you notice discharge from your penis. It could be a UTI – or something even more serious if you also experience nausea, fever, and chills.
How Is Urinary Tract Infection in Men Treated?
A UTI occurs when bacteria or sometimes a virus and even a fungus finds its way to the urinary tract.
- The treatment for all bacterial infections involves taking antibiotics. This is no different for UTIs. You will have to take antibiotics to clear the infection – you usually see relief from all your symptoms within seven days of starting your antibiotics.
- You may also have to take ibuprofen or paracetamol to treat pain, temperature, or discomfort.
- What's more, you should drink plenty of fluids to help flush the bacteria out of your system. Keeping yourself hydrated and urinating more often will help clear the infection even without the use of any medication.
If it is severe, you need to seek immediate medical attention because the infection can spread quickly if left untreated.
How to Prevent It
While there is treatment available for urinary tract infection in men, it is always better to take steps to prevent the infection. Here are some steps to take:
- Regularly clean the area beneath your foreskin if you are not circumcised.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids every day.
- Do not resist the urge to use the bathroom – frequent trips to the bathroom will protect you from infections.
- Be sure to clean your genitals before and after sex to avoid becoming infected.
- Always use condoms when engaging in sexual activities.
What Is the Outlook?
Most men notice substantial improvement in their condition within a few days of taking antibiotics. You should see your doctor again if symptoms persist. They will consider your situation and prescribe a different antibiotic medication to treat your infection. This is common because some bacteria are resistant to certain types of antibiotics. Your doctor may even ask for certain tests to identify the type of bacteria and select appropriate antibiotics.
When left untreated, infection can spread to other parts as well. It may affect your bladder first (cystitis) but may spread to the kidney (pyelonephritis). It may also cause the infection of the prostate gland and lead to a swelling in the gland. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions and complete your antibiotics course to find relief.