Urinary Tract Infections in Men

Side view cross section of male pelvis showing penis, testicle, urethra going through penis from bladder, rectum behind bladder, and kidney attached to bladder by ureter.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are most often caused by bacteria that invade the urinary tract. The bacteria may come from outside the body. Or they may travel from the skin outside of the rectum into the urethra. Pain in or around the urinary tract is a common symptom for most UTIs. But the only way to know for sure if you have a UTI is to have a urinalysis and urine culture. 

Types of UTIs

  • Cystitis. This is a bladder infection. It is often linked to a blockage from an enlarged prostate. You may have an urgent or frequent need to urinate, and bloody urine. Treatment includes antibiotics and medicine to relax or shrink the prostate. Sometimes you will need surgery.

  • Urethritis. This is an infection of the urethra. You may have a discharge from the urethra or burning when you urinate. You may also have pain in the urethra or penis. It is treated with antibiotics.

  • Prostatitis. This is an inflammation or infection of the prostate. You may have an urgent or frequent need to urinate, fever, or burning when you urinate. Or you may have a sore prostate, or a vague feeling of pressure. Prostatitis is treated with a range of medicines, depending on the cause.

  • Pyelonephritis. This is a kidney infection. If not treated, it can be serious and damage your kidneys. In severe cases you may need to stay in the hospital. You may have a fever and low back pain.

Medicines to treat a UTI

Most UTIs are treated with antibiotics. These kill the bacteria. The length of time you need to take them depends on the type of infection. Take antibiotics exactly as directed until all of the medicine is gone. If you don't, the infection may not go away and may become harder to treat. For certain types of UTIs, you may be given other medicine to help treat your symptoms.

Lifestyle changes to treat and prevent UTIs

The lifestyle changes below will help get rid of your current infection. They may also help prevent future UTIs.

  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice, or other caffeine-free drinks. This helps flush bacteria out of your system.

  • Empty your bladder when you feel the urge to urinate and before going to sleep. Urine that stays in your bladder promotes infection.

  • Use condoms during sex. These help prevent UTIs caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.

  • Keep follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider. He or she may do tests to make sure the infection has cleared. If needed, more treatment can be started.

Other treatments to prevent UTIs

Most UTIs respond to medicine. But sometimes you will need a procedure or surgery. This can treat an enlarged prostate, or remove a kidney stone or other blockage. Surgery may also treat problems caused by scarring or long-term infections.