Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Men: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options

Even though it is more common in women, urinary tract infections can also affect men and cause symptoms such as a sudden urge to urinate, pain, and stinging during or right after urinating. 

UTI's are more common in men over 50 years old, since there is a higher risk of suffering from prostatic hyperplasia, but it can also be more common for those who practice anal sex, those who are not circumcised or those that use a urinary catheter to urinate with.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Men: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options

Symptoms of UTI in men

The following symptoms are characteristic of urinary tract infections in men:

  • Frequent need to urinate;
  • Pain or stinging sensation when urinating;
  • Difficulty holding urine in;
  • Cloudy urine with a strong smell;
  • Low grade fever;
  • Presence of blood in the urine.

However, it is also common for the infection not to cause any symptoms in men, being only identified in routine tests.

Diagnosing UTIs

The diagnosis of a UTI in men is based on the symptoms and in the result of a urine test. This test analyzes a urine sample in order to identify the presence of microorganisms that may be causing the infection. The microorganisms that are found more frequently in those with a urinary tract infection are Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, and Proteus.

Additionally, the doctor may ask some questions about the man’s sexual life, in order to identify risk factors for infections or STIs, as well as doing a rectal examination to check if the prostate has increased in size.  

In young men that have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, the urologist may also recommend tests such as computerized tomography, ultrasonography, and/or cystoscopy to assess if there are other problems in the urinary tract. 

Treatment options for UTIs

The treatment for urinary tract infections in men is done according to the cause of the problem, with antibiotics usually being necessary.

In general, symptoms start to improve after 2 days of medicinal treatment, but in more serious cases a prolonged treatment (two or more weeks) or hospital admittance may be necessary.

What can cause UTIs in men

Some factors can increase the risk of a man developing a urinary tract infection:

  • Practicing unprotected anal sex;
  • Using a catheter to urinate;
  • Having an increased prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, as well as a family history of the illness;
  • Not ingesting enough liquids;
  • Holding urine for a long time on a frequent basis;
  • Urine reflux from the bladder to the kidneys;
  • Kidney stones;
  • Diabetes;
  • Multiple sclerosis or another neurologic disease;
  • Chronic kidney disease;
  • Urinary tract cancer;
  • Taking certain medications;
  • Chronic prostatitis.

Additionally, men who are not circumcised have higher chances of suffering from UTIs or STDs, as the excess skin on the penis makes cleaning more difficult and increases the risk of microorganisms proliferating in that region.

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References

  • THE CONSUMER’S HANDBOOK OF UROLOGICAL HEALTH. Dealing with urinary tract infections: Tips for adult men and women. Available on: <https://www.cua.org/themes/web/assets/files/pdf/consumers_handbook/9-dealing_with_urinary_tract_infections_tips_for_adult_men_and_women.pdf>. Access in 21 Nov 2019
  • EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF UROLOGY. Guidelines on The Management of Urinary and Male Genital Tract Infections. 2008. Available on: <https://uroweb.org/wp-content/uploads/EAU-Guidelines-Male-UTI-2008.pdf>. Access in 21 Nov 2019
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