Urinary tract infection in men: causes, symptoms, treatment

With Pr Xavier Gamé, urologist at the Toulouse University Hospital

A urinary tract infection is a infectionn bacterial apsimilar urinary : the urethra, the bladder, the ureters are affected, as are the prostate and the kidneys. If the prostate is implicated, we speak of prostatitis. Poorly treated, prostatitis can become chronic and be particularly troublesome on a daily basis. If the infection reaches the kidney, it causes pyelonephritis.

For all these pathologies, we often use the generic term male urinary tract infection “, explains Professor Xavier Gamé, urologist at the Toulouse University Hospital.

Burning, pain when urinating, fever… What are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in a man?

The signs of a UTI, although variable, are easy to identify : a frequent and urgent need to urinate for very small quantities, leaks, burning while urinating. Sometimes, one can observe the presence of blood in the urine. ” A peculiarity also in humans is a difficulty or even an impossibility to urinate despite the urge, preventing complete emptying of the bladder “explains the doctor.

When the infection reaches the prostate or affects the kidneys, pain in the lower abdomen and/or lumbar pain (in the lower back) is also significant. In these cases, the infection is often accompanied by fever, chills, severe fatigue.

All these symptoms are not to be taken lightly, and the patient should consult his doctor as soon as possible to avoid any risk of complications.

Urinary tract infection: is it contagious?

Due to age or our own bacteria, the urinary tract infection as such is not contagious.

However, it can be confused with urethritis. Affecting the urethra, it is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). In this case, it can promote the transmission of other STIs (such as Chlamydia infection or gonorrhea). If the symptoms may be similar, the management is different.

In all cases, any urinary discomfort should lead to consultation. If after discussion, your doctor suspects an STI, you will need to get tested, as well as your partners, even if they are asymptomatic.

What causes a urinary tract infection?

In men over 50, urinary tract infections are most often prostatitis. Often, with age, the prostate tends to grow: in the event of prostatic hypertrophy, it can go from the size of a small apricot to that of a petanque ball! By increasing, the prostate can compress the urethra and interfere with the emission of urine. These no longer flow normally, stagnate in the bladder, which promotes the development of bacteria, and therefore infection.

However, “theThe causes can be multiple: it can also be due to a stenosis of the urethra, a foreign body in the bladder, a calculation, a tumor causing urinary disorders. However, urine that stagnates in the bladder promotes the multiplication of germs “, adds Professor Game.

An infection with multiple origins

Otherwise, a UTI may be the result colonization of the bladder by bacteria naturally present in the digestive tract and then in the stool. Although the causative germs are diverse (Proteus mirabilis, Klebsiella…), the bacterium Escherichia coli (e-coli) is most of the time responsible. During a visit to the toilet, the bacteria from the intestine can come into contact with the urinary meatus and go up to the bladder. However, because the male urethra is far from the anus, UTIs from this bacteria are less common in men than in women.

In young men, urinary tract infections are even rarer, and frequently mistaken for an STI (sexually transmitted infection) triggering urethritis (more vulgarly called “hot piss”): the urethra (the urinary canal), colonized by microorganisms (often gonorrhea or chlamydia), is then infected. What distinguishes urethritis from a more classic UTI is that a discharge may come out of the urethra (urethral discharge). It may be thick and yellowish in the case of gonorrhea, or lighter in the case of chlamydia.

In children, urinary tract infection can be linked to either malformationsan anatomical abnormality, either a dirty diaper kept too long.

Either way, these infections are not to be taken lightly because “ they can be serious: septic shock is possible », warns the doctor. In the slightest doubt or feeling of discomfort, it is necessary to consult.

How to quickly treat a urinary tract infection in a man? Which treatment, which antibiotic?

We recommend consult your doctor as soon as possible as soon as the first symptoms appear. It is also the same if once treated, your symptoms reappear.

During the consultation, the doctor will carry out an examination, and possibly a digital rectal examination to examine the prostate. It will also ask you a urinalysis (or ECBU). These tests are necessary to identify the bacteria causing the infection and to adapt the treatment accordingly.

If you are over 50, other tests (such as a blood test, an MRI or an ultrasound of the urinary tract) may be requested to ensure the good health of your prostate.

Depending on the result, the doctor prescribe antibiotics. If your infection turns out to be an STI, treatment will last at least a week. It will then be necessary to abstain from any sexual intercourse for the duration of the treatment.

In case of prostatitis and under medication, a urinary tract infection often improves in a few days. The treatment can be quite long: between 2 or 3 weeks. Take your antibiotics well and be rigorous, because poorly treated, ” prostatitis can become chronic and much more difficult to treat. In these cases, it is necessary to see a urologist “, assures Professor Xavier Game.

However, if the symptoms you are suffering from are severe (such as a high fever) and suggest that you are suffering from acute prostatitis, this will need to be taken care of more quickly. In these cases, the doctor does not wait for the result of the ECBU. ” It is better to treat upstream and then adapt the antibiotic treatment “, assures Professor Xavier Game. If the infection proves to be too serious, he may request hospitalization for a few days. Especially if you are immunocompromised, in a lot of pain, have a fever, are vomiting or cannot urinate.

In addition to medication, how can you relieve your symptoms?

In addition to the analgesics that your doctor will certainly prescribe to calm the pain and in parallel with your treatment, it is possible to relieve the most bothersome symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of water (at least 1.5 liters per day) to help eliminate bacteria
  • Use a hot water bottle to put on your stomach to soothe pain
  • Cranberries (or cranberries) are known to stimulate the immune system and prevent urinary tract infections
  • Avoid sex for a while
  • Do not refrain from urinating

These tips cannot cure you, but are only intended to relieve your symptoms while waiting for the treatment prescribed by your doctor to take effect.