UTIs are a common occurence in women but what about men?
Young men are 30x less likely to suffer this problem but as men age past 50, the occurance rates catch up to that of women.
In fact a UTI in men is viewed at more seriously than if it were in women purely based on the physical differences between the two sexes. Men have a longer urethra (passage for urine), men also have greater distance between rectum and urethra (bacteria have less chance for cross-contamination). Thus a UTI in men is rare and when noticed, is treated with a higher level of suspicion for reasons I’ll get into shortly.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
- burning pain when urinating
- frequency: running often to the toilet
- urgency: sudden urges to pee
- blood in urine (slightly pink)
UTIs are an umbrella term that covers infections stemming at different locations including: the urethra, bladder, kidneys, prostate. As such, the symptoms can vary and this helps doctors on their diagnosis.
Symptoms of a more serious infection:
- dribbling urine (could be sign of blockages at prostate)
- pain in pelvis
- side/flank/back pain
- nausea and vomitting
Bacteria have a knack for spreading. They will spread given the food and the path. Unfortunately for men and women, the path is through the urethra, into the bladder, across to the prostate and epididymis, and even up to the kidneys via the ureters. Have I lost you?!
Don’t fret. It’s rare that these things happen but here’s my rule of thumb: if you’ve got flank pain and fever, its probably spread to your kidneys. If you’ve got pain in the pelvis and dribbling at the urinal, it’s probably in the prostate. See your GP either way.
Word of warning: men get familiar with the “digital examination”. I’ve been there before lool. It’s when doc puts on his latex gloves with a snap, lubes up, then inserts his/her finger into your butt hole to feel for the prostate. Men as we age our prostate can enlarge putting undue pressure on the outflow of urine. Sometimes the prostate can become cancerous and this is one one for docs to keep a finger on the pulse. Ahem.
Antibiotics. Whilst this sounds straightforward enough, there are a spectrum of bacteria (sometimes even viruses) and so a urine and blood test are required to know what the culprit is before a doctor can prescribe anything.
Treatment is usually for 7 days.
Things your doctor ask you:
Do you have:
- a history of diabetes?
- nocturia (peeing at night)
- prostate issues
- urine sample
- blood sample maybe
Know your own risks
- Are you immobile? patients stuck in bed often find their bladders filling up and overtime the stagnant urine can foster bacteria.
- Dehydrated? Drink one too many cups of coffee? Coffee has a diuretic effect causing build up of urine in the bladder too
- Uncircumcised men can potentially harbour bacteria under their foreskins
- Engage in unprotected anal sex? Use a condom
- Aged 50+ and Male? Your prostate enlarges with time and can put undue pressure on your urethra causing backlog of urine
- Finally Go when you feel the urge to go. Holding back on urinating puts you at risk too
Alright men, remember if you have ANY symptoms, get it checked!