How does a man get a UTI?

June 22, 2021

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common reasons for patients to see their providers. UTIs are the cause of more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year. Twelve percent of men will have at least one UTI during their lifetime. Men over the age of 50 are at higher risk of a UTI.

UTIs are about four times more common in women than men, however, when men get a UTI, it is more likely to spread to the kidneys and upper urinary tract. Some cases may even require surgery, so it is important to know the symptoms.

What is a UTI?

Normal urine is sterile and contains no bacteria. However, bacteria may get into the urine and travel from the urethra into the bladder causing a UTI. Bacteria can grow in damp, dark, moist areas. Bacteria live on the skin and the rectal area. It can access the body through the urethra or through small tears in the skin. 

UTI Symptoms in Men:

UTIs can cause the lining of the bladder and urethra to become red, irritated and inflamed which causes symptoms. If the bacteria progresses up the urinary tract into the kidneys, it is then classified as a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Symptoms of a kidney infection are similar to a UTI, but often include back pain, fever, nausea or vomiting and blood in the urine. Kidney infections are a more serious condition and should be treated quickly.

The three most common symptoms for men when experiencing a UTI:
1. Painful or difficult urination
2. Frequent urge to urinate
3. An urgent need to urinate

Other symptoms might include: cloudy urine, urinary incontinence, bladder pressure or discomfort, lower back pain, blood in the urine, malodorous urine, fever, nausea or vomiting, or changes in mental status (confusion).

A history, exam and testing can help pinpoint treatment often with a short course of antibiotics. Additionally, the underlying cause for a UTI will be assessed and discussed to reduce the risk of a UTI in the future.

UTI prevention in both men and women includes drinking about two liters of water a day, emptying your bladder when needed and not holding your urine for an extended period of time and addressing any changes in urination that have progressed over time.

Urologists are trained to evaluate the cause and treat UTIs in both men and women. Contact Austin Urology Institute at 512.694.8888 and schedule a consultation with a provider if you have concerns about UTIs or other urinary issues.