Urinary Tract Infections in Men
Research shows that while two out of five women are likely to develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in life, most men can go through their lifetimes without suffering the condition at all. It is estimated that only up to 20% of the diagnosed urinary tract infections affect men, with the condition being very rare in younger men and its risk only advancing as a man ages. Most men that are affected by UTls tend to be over the age of 50.
The reduced risk of UTI in men is attributed to the anatomical structure of the male urinary system. Generally, microbes such as bacteria that could be present anywhere within the urinary tract system can cause UTI. The symptoms are not that different from women and may include burning sensation while urinating, cloudy or smelly urine, and constant urge to urinate and abdominal or lower back pain. There is, however, one specific symptom to men where one notices fluid seeping from the penis. Additionally, in severe cases of UTI, symptoms such as nausea and fever can also be experienced.
Aging is considered to be a major risk factor because it often leads to partial blockage in the urinary tract and lowers the body's immune. Nonetheless, other factors put men at risk of UTI as well, including kidney stones, bladder catheter insertion, diabetes, being uncircumcised and having an enlarged prostate gland. Experts note that a risk factor only suggests the likelihood of contracting the condition when compared to others, and its presence does not suggest you will necessarily suffer from the condition nor does its absence mean you are completely safe from it.
Medical professionals highlight a number of things men can do to prevent or reduce their chances of getting a UTI. Staying well hydrated is considered essential to maintaining a healthy urinary tract system. Practising proper hygiene, especially if you are not circumcised, will also help keep off the UTI causing microbes. Finally, you are advised to make a trip to the bathroom whenever you have an urge and avoid holding urine in for long.
When left untreated, UTIs can quickly spread to other parts of the body and even become life-threatening. Possible complications of an untreated UTI in men include kidney failure, infertility, shrinking testicles and spread to the bloodstream causing sepsis. On noticing any of the symptoms, visit a doctor where a few tests may be taken to determine if it is really a UTI. The common tests performed include urinalysis and blood tests. In some complicated cases, however, rectal examination, intravenous pyelogram (IVP), x-rays or ultrasonography might be required.
Treatment will often depend on the particular cause, with antibiotics being widely used. Complex UTI may even require treatments that are more intrusive such as surgery to rectify a possible underlying condition that makes one susceptible to the infection.