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Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) In Men

Urinary tract infections are more common in women than men however men can acquire UTI and it can have some severe complications.  It is important to recognize the symptoms and get treatment quickly.

The urine is normally sterile but under certain circumstances bacteria can move in the urinary system and cause infection.  Just like UTIs in women and children, infections in men are caused by bacteria.

Men with abnormalities of the urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate, are more prone to urinary infection. This condition can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, which increases the likelihood that bacteria will grow and trigger an infection.

A bladder infection (cystitis) is more common in men who practice anal intercourse and in those who are not circumcised.

Other factors that increase the risk of urinary infections include an obstruction, such as that caused by a partial blockage of the urethra known as a stricture, and non-natural substances, such as rubber catheter tubes (as may be inserted to relieve a blockage in the urethra). Men with diabetes or any disease that suppresses the immune system are more prone to UTI.

Although some men who have a UTI do not have any symptoms, most men will experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • The urine can look cloudy or milky. If blood is present then the color will be reddish
  • Urine if foul smelling
  • Pain, pressure or tenderness in the area of the bladder (in the middle of the abdomen, below the navel) and/or pain in the upper back or in the side
  • Unusual frequent urge to urinate but often the amount of urine passed is small
  • Painful, burning feeling in the area of the bladder or urethra, during urination
  • Awakening from sleep to urinate
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea and even vomiting may occur

The doctor’s exam will consist of a urine sample that you will give right there at the doctor’s office. A lab test will let them know if you have an infection and how severe the infection is. Once the severity is determined, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. If you are in any pain, the doctor will also prescribe a special pain killer that is specifically for UTIs.

You need to be aware that these pain killers may turn your urine a bright blue or orange, but there is no need for alarm, the medicines are quite safe and will leave no lasting effects. You will also need to drink lots of water during your recovery period. This recovery period is usually 7-10 plus days.

In men, a rectal examination will allow your doctor to assess the size and shape of the prostate gland. If you are a young man with no sign of an enlarged prostate, your doctor may order additional tests to search for a urinary tract abnormality that increases the likelihood of infection. This is because urinary tract infections are relatively rare in young men with normal urinary tracts.

If the infection has spread or become severe before your doctor visit, there may be other tests the doctor will require. Further tests such as an IVP (Intravenious pyelogram), ultrasound, or cystoscopy may be required to detect the cause of urinary infections especially is they recur or do not respond to the medication your doctor orders. These types of test are necessary to check your kidneys and/or prostate. The treatment for UTI is somewhat longer for men than for women because of the concern for the prostate.

Once an infection gets into the prostate it is very difficult to get rid of it. This is just one more reason to pay attention to your bodily functions so you can detect a UTI in its earliest stages.  Of course, as with nearly everything else in life, the older a man gets the greater the concern.

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