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Urinary Tract Infection in men

If you feel a constant need to urinate, or if it’s painful when you do, you may be experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are not common in younger men, but certain conditions and age-related changes can increase the risk. Here are a few pointers on how you can recognize and even avoid an infection.

Illustration of how bacteria infect the bladder in a urinary tract infection

What is a urinary tract infection?

UTIs can happen when harmful bacteria invade the urinary tract. Usually, the infection is caused by our own bacteria ending up where they don’t belong. The most common of these bacteria is E. coli, which normally lives in the intestine, but a number of other bacteria can also be responsible. 
 
These are common symptoms of this type of infection: 
 
  • Pain or a burning sensation when urinating 
  • Frequent urination and a constant urge to urinate 
  • Urinating only small amounts each time 
  • Traces of blood in the urine 
  • Dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine 
  • Feeling cold, not usually accompanied by fever 
  • Sudden urinary incontinence 
 
It is worth noting that some sexually transmitted diseases may present symptoms similar to a UTI. 

What are the different types of UTI?

The most common type of UTI occurs in the lower urinary tract, infecting the urethra and bladder. Highly virulent strains, if left untreated, can spread further up to the ureters and the kidneys, in the upper urinary tract. The symptoms of upper UTI are considerably worse, and may include back pain, nausea and fever. Fever may also indicate that bacteria have made their way into the prostate. 
 
If left untreated, an upper UTI can cause damage to the kidneys and there is also a risk that the infection enters the bloodstream and spreads further, this is called urosepsis and calls for intensive care. So, if you suspect a UTI you should seek medical attention, in order to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you get help, the easier your road to recovery. 

Treatment of UTI symptoms in men

Antibiotics generally offer an effective treatment of a UTI. A urine culture test is needed to identify which bacteria has caused the infection and then which antibiotic will be most effective.

What can you do to relieve UTI symptoms?

  • Drinking enough fluids will help flush out bacteria from the bladder.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID*) can help with some of the symptoms, like pain, fever and inflammation.
  • Place a heating pad on your lower back or stomach for the pain.

What causes UTI in men?

For men over 60, infections become more common, usually connected to an enlarged prostate, age-related changes, and other diseases that are more prevalent the older we get. An enlarged prostate can reduce the flow of urine and make it harder to completely empty the bladder. The remaining urine can then act as a medium in which bacteria can grow.


How to avoid UTIs?

Simple steps to prevent a UTI is to always try to empty your bladder fully, to make it difficult for bacteria to get into the urinary tract. Also, identify prostate enlargement early in order to receive the proper treatment to reduce future prostate problems.

A few tips on how to avoid UTIs: 

  • Keep your genital area clean and dry
  • Stay hydrated to help to flush out bacteria
  • Remove soiled incontinence products from front to back
  • If you have problems emptying your bladder, wait a few moments and change position after you have finished voiding and then try again. This may encourage urine to be voided that was left behind the first time, and reduces the risk of infection.
If you want to continue learning, read our articles about frequent urinations in men and post-micturition dribble. If you're looking for support with incontinence, check out which TENA Men product is best for your needs.
 
 
 
 
*Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) is a class of analgesic medication that reduces pain, fever and inflammation.

“Urinary tract infections are more common for men over 60.”

Josefine Grandin
District nurse/Urotherapist