Urinary tract infections are not just a nuisance for women. These infections, although less common but can occur in men. This article explores the symptoms of a UTI, the causes of UTI and the treatment of UTI in men. Urological infections in men usually require treatment. So seeking treatment at the right time is necessary.
UTI in Men
Urinary Tract infection is commonly caused by bacterial overgrowth that can occur anywhere in the urinary tract, including the urethra, bladder or kidneys.
A lower-tract infection occurs in the bladder, prostate, or urethra. An upper tract infection involves the ureters or kidneys.
Symptoms can vary depending on the tract involved.
The infection can occur in different regions of the urinary tract, including the following:
- Bladder: A bladder infection is also termed cystitis.
- Kidneys: When an infection occurs in one or both kidneys, it is called pyelonephritis or a kidney infection.
- Ureters: The tubes that take urine from each kidney to the bladder are rarely the only site of infection.
- Urethra: An infection of the pathway/structure that empties urine from the bladder to the outside is known as urethritis.
UTI Symptoms in Men
- Increased frequency of urine.
- Urgency is the sudden feeling to empty the bladder.
- Pain or burning while urinating.
- Lower abdominal discomfort.
- Urethral discharge.
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
- Blood in your urine.
- Difficulty urinating or “dribbling.”
- Pain in the sides or upper back.
- Pain in the pelvis, rectal or scrotal region.
However, there is a possibility that there might be no signs of UTI in men in some cases.
Types of UTIs
Urinary tract infections are divided into two types:
- Uncomplicated UTI:
If a patient does not have any underlying health issues or urinary tract abnormalities, the infection is uncomplicated.
2. Complicated UTI:
If a patient has an underlying medical condition or urinary tract abnormality, the infection is usually complicated. A urinary tract obstruction due to enlarged prostate or kidney stones can result in a complicated UTI.
Although women are much more likely to develop a UTI than men, the infection can become complicated, and it is best to consult a doctor to start treatment immediately. The urinary tract infection in men is treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics prescribed and the duration of the treatment depends on the type of infection.
Bladder infections (in men) can also lead to prostatitis. Symptoms of a prostate infection include a high fever, chills, muscle aches and trouble urinating.
Diagnosis of UTI
In order to treat UTIs in men. A urine sample may be collected to confirm the diagnosis or identify the organism causing the infection. Your doctor may order further tests to check your kidney, bladder, or prostate if he suspects any underlying health condition.
Further tests are usually done if:
- The upper tract is involved, or the infection is complicated.
- Recurring male bladder infection.
- There is a history of kidney stones or kidney disease.
- The symptoms indicate an obstruction to the urinary flow.
- There is blood-in urine even after treatment with antibiotics.
Further investigations include:
- An examination of the prostate is also called Digital Rectal Exam(DRE).
- General blood workup or a specific blood test to check on your prostate, called prostate-specific antigen(PSA).
- An ultrasound scan of kidneys and bladder.
- An X-ray is ordered if kidney stones are suspected.
- Cystoscopy is a procedure in which a particular instrument is used to look inside your bladder.
- Urodynamic tests check the proper functioning of the bladder.
Related: How to get rid of a UTI quickly
Treatment for UTI in Men
Although some people prefer managing the symptoms of UTIs at home with home remedies, it is wise not to delay treatment. Starting antibiotics immediately can help to prevent complications. Antibiotics help manage bladder pain in men and help cure bladder infections in men. Specific medications are prescribed depending on several factors, namely one’s health condition, the type of bacteria causing the disease and the type of infection.
Antibiotics for UTI in Men
Some antibiotics that doctors prefer to prescribe for UTIs include:
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra): This medication is a combination and helps cure UTIs.
- Nitrofurantoin ( Macrobid, Macrodantin): This medication is effective in treating urinary tract infections commonly caused by E. Coli, Enterobacter cystitis, Enterococcus, Klebsiella, and Staphylococcus etc
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro): This antibiotic is effective and helps treat urinary tract infections but comes with a higher risk of side effects.
- Cephalexin (Keflex): This antibiotic treats several bacterial infections, including UTIs.
- Fosfomycin (Monurol): This medication aids in treating patients who have an infection caused by an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria.
- Amoxicillin-potassium clavulanate (Augmentin): This antibiotic helps cure various infections, including urinary tract infections
Common side effects of antibiotics:
Some common side effects of antibiotics include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
Specific individuals can experience an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis to certain antibiotics. If you develop a rash, hives or breathing issues after starting your medication, you should seek immediate medical attention or report to the emergency room.
It is best to consult a doctor to help you decide on the best treatment plan. You need to finish taking all your pills even after your symptoms improve. This will help ensure the eradication of all the bacteria and help prevent antibiotic resistance, leading to recurrent infections.
Risk Factors for Getting UTIs in Men
There are more chances for older men to develop a UTI. This is primarily because of an increased possibility of developing medical conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In this particular condition, the prostate gland enlarges, and as it is close to the bladder neck, it disrupts the normal flow of urine. The bacteria gets flushed out with urine. However, now they have a chance to multiply in the bladder, leading to an infection. Long-term use of urinary catheters due to certain medical conditions can also increase the risk of developing a UTI
Sexually active men:
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a common cause of UTIs in younger men. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common cause of sexual UTIs in younger men.
Men practicing anal intercourse:
Anal intercourse leads to exposure to bacteria in the rectum, increasing the risk of developing a UTI.
Men with an impaired immune system due to medical conditions like diabetes:
Diabetes can impair the immune system; therefore, people with diabetes are more prone to develop a urinary tract infection. Moreover, higher blood sugar levels allow the bacteria to multiply freely, leading to an infection.
Being immobile for long periods:
Studies indicate that prolonged sitting can lead to the development of lower urinary tract symptoms.
Not drinking enough fluids:
Drinking sufficient water helps eliminate the bacteria which otherwise tend to multiply in the bladder.
Recent urinary tract surgery:
Insertion of a catheter during a surgical procedure, can be a possible cause of getting a UTI. Furthermore, post-surgical urinary retention can cause infections as well.
The foreskin can trap bacteria, which can get into the urinary tract resulting in an infection.
Due to the proximity of the anus in case of faecal incontinence, bacteria can gain entry into the urinary tract leading to a urinary tract infection.
Prevention of UTI in Men
Some measures that help reduce the likelihood of getting a UTI:
- Have protected intercourse: Using protection such as condoms can help prevent infection.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids helps eliminate the bacteria from the urinary tract.
- Urinate when you need to: Urinate when you feel the urge and do not hold it in. This will help prevent the bacteria from multiplying and accumulating in the bladder.
- Maintain good hygiene: Wipe from front to back after bowel movements, to prevent bacteria from gaining entrance to the urinary tract.
- Avoid coffee and carbonated drinks as they can irritate the bladder.
Additionally, treating medical conditions such as BPH can help men reduce the likelihood of developing a UTI.
Some additional measures that may help manage the symptoms include:
- Take aspirin or acetaminophen in case of a fever or pain.
- Using a heating pad can help reduce the lower abdominal or back pain. Be cautious not to burn your skin.
- Soaking in a tub may help relieve any back or abdominal pain.
- Drinking cranberry juice and taking probiotic supplements and products help prevent UTIs from occurring.
What Causes a UTI in Teenagers?
. Common causes of urinary tract infections in teenage males include:
- Sexual activity:
During intercourse, bacteria can be introduced into the urethra and eventually end up in the bladder. UTIs are not actually sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but having sex can cause or worsen a UTI.
Impacted stool fills up the rectum and colon, which can, in turn, prevent the bladder from emptying, providing a chance for the bacteria to multiply and cause an infection.
- Poor toilet hygiene:
Wiping from back to front after passing stool can cause the bacteria to enter the urethra.
- Holding in pee:
Urine held in the bladder for a prolonged duration can cause the bacteria to multiply.
- Taking bubble baths:
Scented soaps, scented products or bubble baths can irritate the private area.
- Wet clothing:
Wearing wet clothes, bathing suits, or workout clothes provides favourable conditions for the bacteria to grow.
If your urinary tract infection (UTI) does not go away despite taking antibiotics, you will require further evaluation and treatment.
Sepsis occurs if the infection spreads and affects your kidney or causes widespread infection in the body. In case of sepsis, a patient requires hospital admission. These complications rarely occur in healthy people but require immediate treatment.
Recurrent UTIs in men can signify prostate infection, also known as prostatitis. Chronic prostatitis is difficult to treat and requires regular follow-ups.
When to Consult a Doctor:
If you are experiencing symptoms of a UTI, do not delay seeking medical help.
FAQs On How To Treat A UTI In Men
Although UTIs are less common in men than in women, men usually belonging to the older age group are more prone to getting a UTI.
UTIs are not sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) increases when you have intercourse. The bacteria that lead to UTIs are commonly found on everyone’s skin. Intercourse increases the risk that these bacteria from your skin gaining entry inside your urinary tract and causing an infection
Urinating before and after intercourse and cleaning the area with warm water help prevent sexual UTIs. Using protection besides spermicides helps prevent a UTI as well.
While urinating, a burning or tingling sensation is termed dysuria and can indicate a urinary tract infection. Other signs of a UTI can accompany this symptom.
UTIs can last for 14 days or longer in men, but in case of prompt treatment, symptoms improve in 24-48 hours after starting antibiotics.
Usually, a UTI in men is considered complicated, and treatments such as antibiotics are required to clear the infection.
Avoid drinks that are carbonated or caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, spicy foods, coffee, citrus, or caffeinated beverages can irritate your bladder and worsen symptoms of UTI.
The quickest way to cure the infection is to take antibiotics. Therefore, it is essential to start treatment as soon as possible to avoid complications.