A urinary tract infection is very rarely contracted by men below the age of 50. Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, is the name of the bacteria that usually causes these infections. While urinating, most of the bacteria that enter the urinary tract, are spilled out. However, the bacteria may remain trapped in the urinary tract due to several complications. In order to understand these complications, let us understand the urinary tract first.
The urinary tract comprises the kidneys, which are on either sides of the abdomen, ureters, bladder and urethra. The urine that passes down from the ureters to the bladder, is produced in the kidneys. The urine further leaves the bladder through the urethra. The bladder and the urethra are the most common areas where the UTI occurs.
According to the dictionary of MediLexicon, a urinary tract infection is a, “microbial infection, usually bacterial, of any part of the urinary tract; may involve the parenchyma of the kidney, the renal pelvis, the ureter, the bladder, the urethra or combinations of these organs. Often, the entire urinary tract is affected; the most common organism causing such infection is Escherichia coli.”
A urinary tract infection is usually caused by excess bacteria in the urinary tract. In other words, the uncontrollable growth of the bacteria, E. coli, is the primary cause of urinary tract infections. There are some other factors which also contribute to spreading of urinary tract infections, such as sex with multiple partners and poor hygiene.
The Factors Increasing the Risk of a UTI
✡ Kidney or bladder stones causing blockages
✡ Anal sex or intercourse with a person suffering from UTI
✡ An uncircumcised penis, as the foreskin traps more germs allowing it to enter the urinary tract
✡ Urinary tract surgeries in the past
✡ Weak immune system
✡ Infected prostate or an enlarged prostate gland
Signs and Symptoms
The most common sign of a UTI is frequent urination. Other symptoms may include;
✡ Pain while urinating
✡ Cloudy urine
✡ Burning sensation while urinating
✡ Blood in urine (pink or red colored urine, also called hematuria)
✡ Urine with bad odor
✡ Passing frequent small amounts of urine
✡ Pain and pressure on the lower abdomen
✡ Persistent urge to urinate
✡ Rectal pain
✡ Need to urinate at night (nocturia)
✡ Pain during sexual intercourse
✡ Pain in the penis (rare)
✡ Temperature, chills, vomiting and nausea
✡ Mental changes or confusion
Types of UTI
There are two types of urinary tract infections; lower UTI and upper UTI. In lower UTI, the infection of the bladder is known as cystitis, while the infection of the urethra is known as urethritis. This is a common condition among homosexual men. It is considered serious as there can be an obstruction in the urinary tract like a tumor or an enlarged prostate gland. Upper UTI is known as acute pyelonephritis. This is an UTI that travels up to the kidneys from the urethra and bladder. This condition is considered serious and can cause a life-threatening infection, severely damaging the kidneys.
Symptoms of Cystitis
✡ Blood in urine
✡ Pain while urinating
✡ Pain in lower abdomen
Symptoms of Urethritis
✡ Urination with a burning sensation
✡ Blood in urine or semen
✡ Fever and dysuria
✡ Unusual discharge from penis
✡ Tenderness, swelling or itchiness in the penis or groin area
✡ Pain with ejaculation and intercourse
Symptoms of Pyelonephritis
✡ Fever or night sweats, and chills with shaking
✡ Passing of pus or blood in the urine (hematuria)
✡ Frequent urination
✡ Severe pain in the abdomen
✡ Fatigue and weakness (feeling sick)
Diagnosing UTI in Men
A urinalysis is often done to check for traces of infection in the urine. This is done by looking for RBCs, WBCs and certain chemicals such as nitrites in the urine. Traces of bacteria can also be found during the test. A further urine culture test may be done to identify the type of bacteria responsible for the infection. This facilitates in prescribing proper antibiotic for treatment.
Home Remedies for UTI
Drink a lot of water, so the bacteria causing the infection is flushed out of your system. Unsweetened cranberry juice or blueberry juice are natural remedies for urinary tract infections. They act like a natural form of antibiotic. They also prevent the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. Consumption of garlic also helps with UTIs.
On the other hand, caffeine, alcohol and drinks containing citric acid, promote bladder irritation. They only help to worsen an UTI. Also, avoid bubble bath and tight undergarments. Maintain hygiene by keeping the genital area clean and wearing loose clothes.
If the aforementioned remedies do not seem to work for you, consult your doctor and get the UTI diagnosed. The doctor will then prescribe antibiotics based on the severity of the UTI. A simple bladder infection will take about a week or two to heal. The antibiotics prescribed will be on a course basis, like; 3 day, 5 day, 7 day, etc. Make sure you complete the course, even if you are relieved of your symptoms before the course gets over. By not doing so, you would only allow the infection to reoccur or cause prostate infection. Infection of the prostate or a recurring infection is hard to heal.