Can men get UTIs? Male UTI symptoms and how to treat it

January 15, 2021

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system. That is, an infection in your kidneys, ureters (urine tubes), bladder or urethra (the tube from your bladder to the outside of your body).  While UTIs are more commonly associated with women, men can get them too. 

Most bacterial UTIs begin in the bladder, but they can also originate in the urethra, prostate or kidney, and they tend to become more common with age. 

Male UTI symptoms

The symptoms of UTIs in men are not very different from those experienced by women. Painful urination is one of the most commonly recognised symptoms, but there are many others:

  • Pain and burning while urinating
  • Urinating more frequently 
  • Sudden and urgent need to urinate
  • A feeling of pain or pressure in the lower abdomen, near the bladder
  • Foul-smelling urine

If the UTI involves the kidneys, there may be additional symptoms:

  • Pain in your sides or back that can’t be eased
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in the urine

How long does a typical UTI last for a man?

Most UTIs are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) getting into your urinary tract through the urethra. 

UTIs are more common in older men. One reason for this is that older men are more likely to experience benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. This enlargement can choke off the neck of the bladder, making it harder to urinate, and therefore reducing your ability to flush the bacteria out of your system. 

While it’s unlikely that a man will catch a UTI while having sex with a woman, there are other factors that can put males at higher risk of getting a UTI:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Recent surgery on the urinary tract
  • Being uncircumcised
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Catheters
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Anal intercourse

What are the UTI treatments for men?

UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics. The exact course of antibiotics may vary depending on where your UTI originated and how severe it is. 

You may need to take your antibiotics once or twice a day for anywhere between a couple of days and a few weeks. This depends on your prescription, and whether you were diagnosed with an upper or lower urinary tract infection.  

The pain of urinating may make it tempting to reduce your fluid intake. However, you need to drink adequate fluids and urinate regularly to help flush the bacteria out of your system. 

Your doctor may also prescribe a pain medication to relieve the burning sensation while urinating. These symptoms typically clear up quickly once you begin taking your antibiotics.

How to prevent UTIs

While getting a UTI can sometimes come down to bad luck, there are many things that men can do to reduce their chances of getting one:

  • Empty your bladder often
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Clean your genitals thoroughly when showering
  • Wear condoms during sex
  • Urinate after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have found its way in
  • Try to move around and not just sit all day.

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