A UTI (urinary tract infection) is an infection of any part of your urinary tract including your prostate, urethra, bladder, ureters or kidneys. You may be asking yourself, “Prostate? Can men get UTIs?”
In this article, we answer that question and share what causes UTIs in men. Finally, we identify some steps men can take to prevent UTIs.
Can Men Get UTIs? Yes!
A woman is at a greater risk for UTIs because her urethra (the tube by which urine travels out of the body) is shorter than a man’s. Therefore, bacteria don’t have much of a distance to travel before reaching a woman’s bladder. That being said, men do get UTIs.
According to the National Library of Medicine, a UTI is an infection of any part of your urinary tract including your prostate, urethra, bladder, ureters or kidneys. Your urinary system is designed to fight off infections by creating a strong flow of urine out of the body. This helps to push potential bacterial invaders out of the urinary tract. But despite your best efforts to avoid infection, sometimes bacteria enter the bladder and stick around.
A common symptom in men with UTIs is pain or discomfort with urination. This pain or pressure can also happen before or after urination. Pain in the lower abdomen or groin is also a common symptom of a UTI.
Common Causes of UTIs in Men
An enlarged prostate is one of the most common causes of UTIs in men. The bladder’s primary defense against infection is the flushing action of the urinary stream. However, normal urine flow may be blocked/obstructed by an enlarged prostate. This blockage contributes to the presence of bacteria and the bacterial growth that leads to an infection.
Obstructed urine flow
Another common cause of male UTIs occurs when the flow of urine out of the bladder is hindered, bacteria can grow. Some men with an enlarged prostate gland may be at greater risk for a UTI because the bladder may not fully empty. As the prostate enlarges, it may constrict the urethra, this can cause a weak urinary stream and eventually, the bladder will not be able to empty completely, and begins to retain urine. This urine retention creates an environment for bacterial growth, and a UTI can occur.
Bacteria can hide deep within prostate tissue
Although many men never experience a UTI, those who do may start a pattern of recurrent UTIs. This is because bacteria often hide within the prostate tissue. Therefore, it is hard to completely eliminate the bacteria – even with a long course of antibiotic treatment.
Men with diabetes may also be at risk for repeat UTIs. Diabetes can lead to weakened immunity, and possibly increased retention of urine due to impaired function of the bladder’s nerves and muscles.
It is important to note that the only way to treat an active UTI is to take an antibiotic – usually for at least 5 to 7 days or possibly longer. However, there are some steps you can take to prevent future UTIs, regardless of gender.
Drink plenty of liquids, water is best
To promote the health of your urinary system, drink plenty of water. As the saying goes, when it comes to UTIs – ‘dilution is the solution.’ Some folks with urinary incontinence, urinary frequency or heart or kidney failure cannot drink a lot of liquids, so be sure to ask your healthcare practitioner for an alternate solution.
Don’t hold it in.
When you have an urge to urinate – don’t hold for too long – make time to get to the bathroom. Waiting to go can promote bacterial growth.
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