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Urinary Tract Infections in Men

Urinary Tract Infections in Men

If you have to urinate constantly or it hurts, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are not common in young men, but certain conditions and age-related changes can increase your risk. Here are some tips for recognizing and even avoiding infections.

What is a urinary tract infection? 

A UTI can occur when harmful bacteria enter the urinary tract. Infections are usually caused by our bacteria ending up somewhere they don't belong. The most common bacteria is E. coli, which usually lives in the gut. However, other bacteria can also be the cause. 

Common symptoms of this type of infection are:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Frequent urination and constant urge to urinate
  • Only being able to urinate a small amount each time
  • Small amounts of blood in the urine
  • Dark, cloudy, or strong-smelling urine
  • Feeling cold
  • Sudden Urinary Incontinence

It is worth noting that some STDs can mimic symptoms associated with UTIs.

What types of urinary tract infections are there?

Lower urinary tract infections are the most common type of UTI and it infects the urethra and bladder. However, if left untreated, virulent strains may continue to spread to the upper urinary tract and kidneys. Symptoms of upper UTI can get significantly worse and include back pain, nausea, and fever. Fever may also indicate that bacteria have invaded the prostate.

Upper urinary tract infections can damage the kidneys if left untreated. There is also the risk of the infection entering the bloodstream and spreading further. This is called urosepsis and requires intensive treatment. Therefore, if you suspect a urinary tract infection, you should see a doctor or healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment and Alleviation of Symptoms

Typically antibiotics are prescribed for the treatment of urinary tract infections. However, a urine culture is required to determine which bacteria caused the infection and which antibiotics are most effective.

What can I do to relieve my symptoms?

  • Drinking plenty of fluids will aid in flushing bacteria out of your bladder.
  • Use medication to help with discomfort, fever and inflammation.
  • Use a heating pad for lower back or abdomen pain relief.

What causes urinary tract infections?

In men over the age of 60, infections are usually associated with an enlarged prostate, age-related changes, and other conditions that are more prevalent the older we get. For example, an enlarged prostate reduces urine flow and makes it difficult to empty the bladder. Leftover urine can act as a breeding ground for bacteria.

How can I avoid a UTI?

A simple way to prevent a UTI is to try and completely empty your bladder to make it harder for bacteria to enter your urinary tract. Also, identify benign prostatic hyperplasia early to get proper treatment to reduce future prostate problems.

Tips to Avoid UTIs:

  • Keep your genital area clean and dry.
  • Stay hydrated .
  • Remove incontinence products that are soiled from front to back direction.
  • If you are struggling to empty your bladder, wait a few moments, change position and try again. This could encourage the urine that was left behind to be voided, reducing the risk of infection.
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