Sexual Health

Can Men Get UTIs?

Talor Bianchini02 Sep 2021

While urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in women, men can get them as well. Men most commonly get urethritis, an infection of the urethra. UTIs' signs and symptoms display themselves differently in men than women, so it's important to know what to look out for. 

If you think you are experiencing a UTI, you should seek medical attention right away. UTIs can be treated at an urgent care center. With Mira, you can get low-cost urgent care visits for only $45 per month. Don’t push off seeing the doctor because you’re worried about the cost. Sign up for Mira today. 

Can Men Get UTIs?

Yes, men can get UTIs. However, men experience UTIs in a different way than women. It is more common for men over 50 to get one, and the likeliness increases each year after that. They can develop a UTI in the bladder, kidney, prostate, or urethra. It is considered a complicated case when a man contracts a UTI and should be treated more seriously. 

Upper Tract vs. Lower Tract UTIs 

E.coli is the bacteria that causes a urinary tract infection. It is naturally found in the body, but an outside source could also be responsible. Once E.coli enters the urethra, it begins to multiply and spread throughout the rest of the urinary tract. This is known as a lower tract UTI and mainly affects the urethra and the bladder. 

Men are more likely to spread the infection to their kidneys when things become more serious and immediate intervention is needed. This is known as an upper tract UTI or pyelonephritis. If the bacteria travels into the blood, it could be potentially life-threatening. Upper tract UTIs tend to have different symptoms than lower tract UTIs. 

Symptoms in Men

Men typically experience different UTI symptoms than women as well. It's important to be aware of any changes in urination so intervention can happen before the situation becomes more serious. Sometimes, men won’t experience any symptoms. However, typical UTI symptoms in men include:

  • Blood in urine
  • Burning after urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Fever
  • Frequent urination
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Trouble urinating

Prevention 

Men can try and prevent themselves from developing a UTI. Some men are more susceptible to getting one due to risk factors like age, uncircumcised, or an enlarged prostate. To reduce the chance of getting a UTI, men can:

  • Clean the genitals before and after sex
  • Drink lots of liquids
  • Empty bladder often
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Urinate after having sex
  • Wear condoms during sex

What are UTIs?

A UTI is an infection of the urinary system, urethra, kidneys, or bladder. They occur when bacteria from outside of the body enter the urethra and then infect the urinary tract. UTIs are extremely common, and it’s estimated that they are responsible for 8 to 10 million doctors visits each year. Although anyone can get a UTI, women are more likely. 1 in 5 women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime, while only 1 in 10 men will experience it. 

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There are three different types of UTIs, depending on where the infection is:

  • Cystitis: inflammation of the bladder, will typically heal itself within a few days.
  • Pyelonephritis: An infection that begins in the urethra or bladder, makes its way to the kidneys, and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra, most common in men.

Each of these infections has its own specific set of common signs and symptoms to look for to determine the best course of treatment. 

Signs and Symptoms of UTIs

Type of UTI

Signs and Symptoms

Cystitis

Pelvic pressure, frequent/painful urination, blood in urine, discomfort in lower abdomen

Pyelonephritis

Back/side pain, vomiting, nausea, high fever, shaking/chills 

Urethritis

Discharge, burning during urination

Source: Mayo Clinic

Risk Factors 

Some people are more susceptible to getting UTIs than others. As mentioned above, women are more likely than men to have a UTI in their lifetime. Other factors contribute to getting a UTI as well, including:

  • Having a UTI before
  • Sexual activity
  • Poor hygiene
  • Pregnancy
  • Structural problems in the urinary tract

UTI Treatments

There are several courses of treatment for a UTI, but the most popular is antibiotics. A doctor will determine if it is the right course of treatment for you. Even if you feel better while taking your antibiotics, you should always take all prescribed medication. Some doctors may even give you pain medication in conjunction with antibiotics, depending on the severity of the infection. Commonly used antibiotics include:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Doxycycline
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Quinolones

If a UTI is less serious and will go away on its own, there are home remedies to help relieve some of the pain. Drinking plenty of fluids is important to flush the bacteria out of your system. Drinking cranberry juice has also been shown to help treat UTIs but doesn’t have any preventative qualities. It’s not recommended to treat UTIs this way, as they can develop into something more serious. 

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Recurring UTIs can lead to surgery as the course of treatment. Some people’s urinary tract structure can make them more susceptible to getting a UTI, and surgery can be the only way to fix it. This will only be the solution when other treatments have not been successful. The goal of surgery could be treating a possible obstruction in the urinary tract or improving urinary drainage. Patients who experience more than 3 UTIs in a single year should see a specialist determine if surgery is the right course of action for them. 

UTI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

UTIs can be confusing, especially if you haven’t had one before. Below are answers to common questions asked about UTIs. 

What are the common causes of UTIs?

UTIs are very common. Not urinating after sex, having poor hygiene, certain birth control pills, not urinating frequently, and even wearing a wet swimsuit are all examples of common causes of UTIs. Bacteria easily enter the urethra when things like these occur. 

Should I go to the doctor if I have a UTI?

Yes. If you believe you have any symptoms of a UTI, you should see the doctor as soon as possible. It's important to catch the UTI before it develops into something more serious and spreads to the kidneys. If you believe it already has spread to the kidneys, you should go to an urgent care center or an emergency room to seek help immediately.

How long does a UTI last?

Lower tract UTIs do not last long once you begin taking antibiotics. Typically, they will go away in 24-48 hours once you start taking medication. UTIs that have infected the kidneys will last longer, typically a week. 

How do they test you for a UTI?

The doctor will ask you about symptoms you are experiencing and if you have had a UTI in the past. They will then ask you for a urine sample to determine any UTI-causing bacteria in your body. The doctor may complete a urine culture following the initial test to see what is causing the infection and which medication would be most effective. Frequent UTIs may lead to having images taken of your urinary tract or using a scope to look inside the bladder. 

Bottom Line 

Only 3% of men each year experience some UTI. Although it's less likely for men to contract a UTI than women, it is still important to practice good hygiene and avoid common causes of UTIs to prevent serious complications. Men tend to have upper tract UTIs, which infect the kidneys and can be potentially life-threatening. If you suspect you have a UTI, seek treatment right away to prevent further infection. 

Diagnosing a UTI doesn’t have to be costly. Almost all urgent care centers complete diagnostic tests for UTIs. Mira can help you reduce the cost of these urgent care visits for only $45/month. In addition, you’ll get up to 80% off on any prescription medication you’ll need to help treat your UTI. Don’t put off seeing the doctor because you’re worried about the cost. Let Mira help you out; sign up today.