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Urinary Tract Infections in Men

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are most often caused by bacteria (germs) that invade the urinary tract. The bacteria may come from outside the body. Or they may travel from the skin outside of rectum into the urethra. Pain in or around the urinary tract is a common symptom for most UTIs. But the only way to know for sure if you have a UTI is to have a urinalysis and urine culture. 

Side view cross section of male pelvis showing penis, testicle, urethra going through penis from bladder, rectum behind bladder, and kidney attached to bladder by ureter.

Four Types of UTIs

  • Cystitis: A bladder infection, or cystitis, is often linked to a blockage from an enlarged prostate. You may have an urgent or frequent need to urinate, and bloody urine. Treatment includes antibiotics and medications to relax or shrink the prostate. In some cases, surgery is needed.

  • Urethritis: This is an infection of the urethra. You may have a discharge from the urethra or burning when you urinate.You may also have pain in the urethra or penis. Urethritis is treated with antibiotics.

  • Prostatitis: This is an inflammation or infection of the prostate. You may have an urgent or frequent need to urinate, fever, or burning when you urinate. Or you may have a tender prostate, or a vague feeling of pressure. Prostatitis is treated with a range of medications, depending on the cause.

  • Pyelonephritis: This is a kidney infection. If not treated, it can be serious and damage your kidneys. In severe cases you may be hospitalized. You may have a fever and upper back pain.

Treating a UTI

  • Medications: Most UTIs are treated with antibiotics. These kill the bacteria. The length of time you need to take them depends on the type of infection. Take antibiotics exactly as directed until all of the medication is gone. If you do not, the infection may not go away and may become harder to treat. For certain types of UTIs, you may be given other medications to help treat your symptoms.

  • Lifestyle changes: The lifestyle changes below will help get rid of your current infection. They may also help prevent future UTIs.

    • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice, or other caffeine-free drinks. This helps flush bacteria out of your system.

    • Empty your bladder when you feel the urge to urinate and before going to sleep. Urine that stays in your bladder promotes infection.

    • Use condoms during sex. These help prevent UTIs caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.

    • Keep follow-up appointments with your health care provider. He or she can may do tests to make sure the infection has cleared. If necessary, additional treatment can be started.

  • Additional treatment: Most UTIs respond to medication. But sometimes a procedure or surgery is needed. This can treat an enlarged prostate, or remove a kidney stone or other blockage. Surgery may also treat problems caused by scarring or long-term infections.


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