Urinary Tract Infections in Men
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among one of the most common reasons for visits to doctor’s offices. Approximately 40 percent of women and 12 percent of men will experience at least one symptomatic urinary tract infection during their lifetime. While many UTIs are isolated events that may not recur, in men there is usually a significant underlying cause.
In men, UTIs typically result from incomplete bladder emptying. That, in turn, is usually due to prostate enlargement or another cause of bladder obstruction. Signs of prostate obstruction are referred to as LUTS – Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms. They include a slow stream, dripping after urinating, a sensation of no emptying your bladder completely, increased frequency of urinating during the day and night and a slow urinary stream.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS?
Dr. Pugach categorizes UTIs as:
Simple (uncomplicated) – Simple UTIs are infections that occur in normal urinary tracts.
Complicated – Complicated UTIs occur in abnormal urinary tracts or when the bacteria causing the infection are resistant to many antibiotic medications. In men, UTIs are usually “complicated” due to incomplete bladder emptying.
HOW DOES THE URINARY TRACT FUNCTION?
It is important when discussing urinary tract infections to understand how the urinary tract functions. Here are the basics.
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. Urine production occurs in the kidneys which serve as a filtration system to eliminate certain waste products and excess fluid from your body. Urine then passes down the connecting tubes (ureters) to the bladder which stores urine until it’s time to empty. As the bladder contracts sphincter muscles relax and allow the passage of urine through the urethra.
It sounds reasonable and simple, doesn’t it? Here’s one problem that can occur as men age.
WHAT CAUSES URINARY TRACT INFECTION IN MEN?
When bladders empty completely in men, there is little chance of developing an infection. But, if the bladder retains urine, UTIs can develop.
As men get older their prostates grow. It’s a slow process that starts around the age of 25. After several decades, the prostate grows enough to prevent the bladder from emptying completely. That sets the stage for infections because there are always bacteria in the urethra that can cause infections in a bladder that does not empty completely.
While prostate growth is the principal cause of UTIs in men, there can be other reasons such as scar tissue formation in the urethra, infected kidney stones, medical conditions like diabetes and certain immune system disorders can also contribute to UTI formation.
WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL SYMPTOMS OF A URINARY TRACT INFECTION?
With a UTI the lining of the bladder and urethra become irritated, causing pain in your abdomen and pelvic area. The most common complaint is more frequent urination and a constant feeling of a need to empty your bladder. Urinating small amounts of urine, a burning sensation, urgency and urge incontinence (sudden urine leakage) can occur. Men with UTIs may also report an unpleasant urine smell and cloudy urine. With a severe urinary tract infection, you may have blood in your urine, a fever and back pain.
Important! If you have back pain and a fever with a UTI you should go to the closest emergency room as this may signify a kidney infection. These infections need to be treated promptly because they can quickly spread into the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening condition.
HOW IS MALE UTI DIAGNOSED?
At Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center we diagnose a UTI by doing a routine urinalysis and/or urine culture. We don’t wait for the results of an outside laboratory. We instantly centrifuge your urine sample and look at it under a microscope looking for bacteria and white blood cells to see if you have an infection. The microscope often allows us to know the general type of infection so we can prescribe the correct antibiotic.
That’s just one example of why it’s often better to see us in the office instead of going to an urgent care center that may not be able to give you a fast, accurate diagnosis.
WHAT’S NEXT AFTER TREATMENT FOR A MALE UTI?
Once your infection is treated, Dr. Pugach and Evans Tran, his skilled Physician Assistant, will evaluate you to determine why the UTI occurred. We have the ability to perform almost all diagnostic tests in our office so you don’t have to experience the inconvenience of traveling to other facilities for an evaluation.
From ultrasound exams to devices to directly look into your prostate and bladder, we do what we can to make the evaluation process as easy as possible for you.
Our goal is to keep you find out what caused your UTI and keep you infection free in the future.
Dr. Pugach advises that there are a few basic steps men can take to avoid UTIs.
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep well hydrated. Whether California is having a drought or not, you must maintain a healthy fluid intake. In general, you should consume two liters of fluid or more each day unless you have other medical conditions that preclude you from doing this.
- Do not hold your urine and delay urinating.
- Do not rush when urinating – wait until your bladder is empty.
Maintain a healthy diet – poor nutrition increases the risk of infections in general.
- Don’t delay treatment if you suspect you have a urinary tract infection. If you do have one, we’ll treat it and find out why it happened. We’re here to keep you healthy!
Contact Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center at 888.735.4336 or email us via our Contact Us Form.