Urinary Tract Infection in Men: Treatment and Prevention

More than 4 million doctor visits in the United States each year are for urinary tract infections (UTI). What is a urinary tract infection? Your urinary tract consists of the organs responsible for creating and eliminating urine. Your kidneys filter waste and excess water from your body to create urine, your bladder stores urine, and your urethra is the tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body. When bacteria enter the urethra and travel to the bladder or kidneys, it can cause an infection known as a urinary tract infection. There are two kinds of urinary tract infections: lower infection of the urethra and bladder and upper infection of the kidneys.

While women are more likely to suffer from urinary tract infections, about 12% of men will develop a UTI in their lifetime. We’re sharing what you need to know about urinary tract infections in men.

How Does a Man Get a Urinary Tract Infection?

UTIs are usually caused when bacteria that live in the colon and rectum enter the urethra. When these bacteria enter the urethra, they can multiply and travel up to the bladder and kidneys. Since women have shorter urethras, they are more likely than men to get urinary tract infections. However, men can still develop urinary tract infections for a variety of reasons. Causes of urinary tract infections in men

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Use of contraceptive spermicide
  • Catheterization
  • Diabetes
  • Blockages of the urethra (kidney stones, bladder stones, BPH, and anatomical abnormalities)

What Does a UTI Feel Like for a Man?

A man who has a UTI may feel a strong, persistent urge to urinate, urinate more than normal, as well as
a burning sensation while urinating, among other symptoms. UTI symptoms in men include:

  • A persistent urge to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Tingling or burning during or after urination (dysuria)
  • Cloudy urine with a strong urine smell
  • Blood in urine (hematuria)
  • Fever
  • Feeling like you need to urinate but then having difficulty urinating

UTIs Contagious Between Humans?

No. While bacteria that can cause a UTI can pass from one person to another, a urinary tract infection cannot spread from person to person.

How to Get Rid of a UTI Fast

You may have heard of at-home remedies for treating UTIs such as drinking lots of water or cranberry juice. However, the best and fastest way to get rid of a UTI is to see your doctor. Most UTIs need antibiotics to clear the infection. If left untreated, a UTI can travel to your kidneys and cause a kidney infection or even a life-threatening condition called sepsis.

If you are experiencing painful urination, fever, a frequent urge to urinate, or blood in the urine, it is important to see a doctor who can diagnose a urinary tract infection. In men, treatment for urinary tract infection will start with a course of antibiotics to kill the infection. Your doctor may collect a urine sample and have it tested in a laboratory to see what kind of bacteria is causing your infection. Knowing the type of bacteria that is causing your UTI can help your doctor know the best antibiotic to prescribe to treat it. If you have recurrent UTIs (more than 3 in a year), there may be an underlying health condition, like diabetes or a structural abnormality like an enlarged prostate, causing the infections.

Your doctor can perform a thorough exam to determine if there is an underlying cause of your recurrent UTIs, as well as recommend a treatment plan.

How to Prevent a UTI in Men

The best form of treatment for a urinary tract infection is prevention.

Just as you’ve likely heard drinking cranberry juice can cure a UTI, you have probably also heard one way to prevent a urinary tract infection is by urinating after sexual intercourse. Treatment for UTIs shouldn’t fully rest on drinking cranberry juice, however, urinating after sexual intercourse can help prevent a UTI.

Urine helps clear bacteria out of the urethra, so peeing both before and after intercourse can help eliminate bacteria in your urinary tract. Other ways men can prevent urinary tract infections include:

  • Practice good hygiene: Regularly bathe genitals with soap and water to minimize growth
    and colonization of bacteria.
  • Avoid spermicidal lubricants: Lubricants can act as a vessel to transport and harbor
    bacteria. Avoiding lubricants can help prevent bacteria from entering the urethra.
  • Thoroughly clean catheters: If you use a catheter to help empty your bladder, make sure
    you are following all cleaning and sterilization procedures. Catheter use is one of the leading
    causes of UTIs in men.
  • Treating blockages of the urethra: If your urinary tract infection is caused by BPH, kidney
    stones, or a structural abnormality that is blocking your urethra, your doctor may be able to
    provide treatment to address the blockage and prevent future infections.

If you are suffering from painful urination, blood in the urine, or any other change in urinary habits that is affecting your life, contact your doctor. It is important to receive prompt treatment and many doctors offer same day appointments.



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