(CNN) — “Can men really get urinary tract infections? Is this a hoax?”This was one of the messages I got in the last 24 hours.Yes, urinary tract infections can occur in men. This is not false information.The news this week that President Bill Clinton had been hospitalised for treatment of a urinary tract infection that had spread to his bloodstream sparked all of this interest.
I first learned of the news while in a room with a new male patient who had recently had two urinary tract infections in a row. As a urologist, I may see hundreds of patients in a year. They’ve been sent to me to assist in determining why these infections are occurring and how to prevent the next one.To assuage your curiosity about UTIs, here’s what I’d like you to know about them.1. What exactly is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an abbreviation for urinary tract infection. It’s an infection of the organs in your body, which I refer to as “pipes,” that are designed to channel urine out of your system and into the urinal. Bacteria that enter the urethra, prostate, bladder, or kidneys cause the majority of UTIs.
2. What distinguishes UTIs in men from those in women?UTIs are diagnosed in far more women than men. We believe this is due to women having a shorter urethra – the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world. The shorter length allows bacteria to travel more easily to the urinary system. Because men have longer urethras, they are more resistant to urinary infections.However, the length of the urethra alone cannot protect men from UTIs; over their lifetimes, 12% of men will experience urinary symptoms associated with a UTI. This is not to say that the urethra or penis are short or small. In men, the infection is usually caused by something other than the length of the urethra.
3. What factors make certain men more susceptible to UTIs?There are numerous reasons why a man may develop a UTI; all of them are serious and should not be overlooked.as opposed to younger men As a urologist, I see men who get recurrent infections because they don’t empty their bladder properly due to an enlarged prostate. Men may not be able to empty their bladder if they have nerve damage from a stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, or a spine injury, in addition to the prostate. Men can also get infections that start in the prostate or testicles and spread to the bladder, or the infection can spread from the bladder to the other organs. Kidney stones can also be an infection source. (I know this from personal experience because I’ve had a kidney stone!)Urinary infections in young men can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases. Men can also get an infection if they have recently had a urinary tract procedure.
4. What are the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection?Dysuria (burning while urinating), increased urinary frequency, urgency, incontinence, foul odour, blood in the urine, fevers, chills, pain in the abdomen near the bladder Some men, believe it or not, may have no symptoms and still be diagnosed with a UTI based on urine cultures performed for other reasons.
5. How are urinary tract infections diagnosed?UTIs are diagnosed by sending your urine to be cultured. This is when a sample of your urine is processed and tested for bacteria strains. E.coli is the most common bacteria found in urinary tract infections. Once the culture is completed, the results can be used to guide treatment, which is typically oral antibiotics. A urine analysis, which can be performed quickly in our office, can indicate an infection. The best test, however, is actual culture.Doctors do not wait for culture results, which can take one to three days, before beginning treatment. If an infection is suspected, an antibiotic will be administered right away and then adjusted based on the results of the culture.
6. How is a urinary tract infection treated?UTIs are typically treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics taken orally. However, some superbugs may be resistant to the antibiotics we can give you orally, necessitating the use of stronger antibiotics administered via IV. The majority of treatments last seven to ten days, but they can last longer.Strong IV antibiotics are started immediately in severe cases of infection that has spread to the bloodstream to control the infection. Patients are admitted to the hospital to begin these harsh treatments. If you have a bloodstream infection, you do not have to stay in the hospital for weeks. You may continue these IV treatments from home as long as you are doing well (no fever, normal labs, heart and pulse OK). Each treatment is customised to your specific condition.
7. Can UTIs be treated with over-the-counter medications? As a doctor, I have to say no. Men should not attempt to treat infections by themselves. If you notice any of these symptoms, go to the doctor or an emergency room right away.
8. How can UTIs be avoided? The best prevention is to first ensure that there are no anatomical issues that need to be addressed, such as an enlarged prostate, kidney stone, or blockage.
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