By Julie Vargo, Editorial Contributor
Think urinary tract infections (UTIs) are just for women? Think again.
These bacterial infections are equal opportunity offenders, able to wreak havoc on the bladder, kidneys, urethra and ureter of men as well as women.
“Because women have a shorter urethra — the tube connecting the bladder to the outside world — they suffer UTIs more often,” says Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, a urologist and male infertility specialist at Orlando Health South Lake Hospital. “But when men get a UTI, it should be taken seriously. There is often an underlying cause beyond the length of their urethra.”
Sexually transmitted disease, diabetes, or nerve damage from stroke or spinal trauma that prevent men from fully emptying their bladder can cause UTIs. Ditto an enlarged prostate or kidney stones that stymie the flow of urine.
With a UTI, the lining of the bladder and urethra can become inflamed and irritated, similar to a sore throat. Unlike a sore throat, though, you can’t see a UTI. But you can certainly feel it. Symptoms include:
The urge to pee more often
Lower abdominal and back pain
To protect against recurring UTIs, Dr. Brahmbhatt suggests that men drink plenty of water, take cranberry supplements, use the bathroom instead of holding it and practice safe sex. Proper hygiene, especially on uncircumcised penises, also is important.
Should symptoms of a UTI arise, seek treatment immediately. Your doctor will do a urine culture and prescribe antibiotics if needed. Left unchecked, however, UTIs can spread through the body and pose additional health risks.
Learn more at OrlandoHealth.com/Urology