Myth Busters: Can a Man Get a UTI?
Though men are less likely to contract a urinary tract infection (UTI), that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. The internet is great because it provides patients the ability to research different infections and medical issues, however, it also allows for misinformation to spread — creating commonly believed myths about male UTIs.
Because a UTI is one of the most commonly diagnosed infections, it makes sense that there are some misconceptions floating around. It is important to know the accurate information so that you will know how to avoid a UTI, and manage it effectively. Continue reading to learn the correct information as we debunk the top five myths about male UTIs.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is a very common type of infection found in your urinary tract — and can involve your urethra, kidneys, ureters, or bladder. Typically, our urine does not contain bacteria, however, bacteria can find its way into the urinary system from outside of the body, causing the infection. A UTI can be cured in as quick as 48 hours with antibiotics, but if left untreated the infection can linger for up to a week, if not longer.
Common Symptoms of a UTI
Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms. However, if symptoms are present, patients have reported feeling:
- Fever, tiredness, and shakiness
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- An urge to urinate often
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Pressure on your lower abdomen
- Cloudy or reddish urine with an odor
Types of Urinary Tract Infections
There are three different types of urinary tract infections. The type of infection is dependent on which section of the urinary tract is infected.
- Urethritis: An infection of the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body)
- Cystitis: A bacterial infection in the bladder that often has moved up from the urethra
- Pyelonephritis: An infection of the kidneys that has likely spread up the tract
5 Common Myths About Male UTIs
Now that you know what a UTI is, and its symptoms, let’s discuss and debunk the five most commonly believed myths about male UTIs.
1. Male UTIs Are Caused by Poor Hygiene
A UTI is rarely an issue of poor hygiene for men or women — even the most clean person can contract a urinary tract infection.
Although good hygiene is important, remaining clean is not a guaranteed way to avoid a urinary tract infection. In fact, for men, poor hygiene is likely not the culprit at all, as men are far more likely to contract a UTI from medical issues — such as a urinary tract blockage. For women on the other hand, a good rule of thumb is to remember to wipe from front to back when you use the bathroom to avoid the transmission of bacteria to your urethra.
2. Only Adults Can Get UTIs
This myth could not be farther from the truth. Children, and even babies can get a UTI just as adults can. In fact, children born with complications to their urinary tract are especially at risk for getting a UTI. However, just like adults, the infections will usually clear up quickly with treatment.
3. Cranberry Juice Can Resolve a UTI
Although this is a popular “home remedy” for a UTI, unfortunately, cranberry juice likely does not help with a UTI once it has developed. People believe this myth because there is scientific data behind it. For example, the substance found in cranberries, proanthocyanidins, helps bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract linings.
However, doctors are still unsure if drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills actually works to resolve a male UTI. If you think you’re having symptoms of a UTI, it’s best to consult with your doctor to be prescribed antibiotics that are proven to relieve your symptoms.
4. UTIs Are Nothing to Worry About and Should be Ignored
Though lower UTIs (Urethritis and Cystitis) are more common and usually not a sign of major concern, upper UTIs (Pyelonephritis) can become very serious if left untreated. Not seeking the proper medical help can result in your UTI damaging your kidneys or spreading to your bloodstream.
No medical issue should ever be ignored. Although a UTI will likely go away on its own within about a week, symptoms may become too persistent to not seek medical assistance. Additionally, the infection will go away quickly with prescribed antibiotics, rather than being left untreated to linger for longer periods of time.
5. Only Women Can Get UTIs
This is simply not true. Men can still contract UTIs, although they are far more common in women. In fact, an estimated 60% of women will experience symptoms of a UTI, while only 12% of men have at least one UTI in their lifetime. This is due to the urethra (the tube from the bladder where urine exits the body) being shorter for women than it is for men. This makes it a lot easier for bacteria to get into the bladder.
How Men Can Prevent a UTI
Even though sometimes UTIs are inevitable, there are some things that men can do to try and prevent an infection from occurring. These preventative measures include:
- Don’t hold in urine for an extended period of time
- Drink water to flush your kidneys
- Urinate after sex to flush bacteria from the urethra
If You’re Experiencing UTI Symptoms, Contact Your Nearest USOC
There’s no denying that symptoms of a male UTI can be uncomfortable, annoying, and sometimes even embarrassing. If you, or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a UTI — find your nearest Urology Specialist of the Carolinas location and schedule an appointment with one of our incredible urologists. They will be able to professionally diagnose your symptoms and curate a treatment plan that’ll have you feeling better in no time. Use the button below to schedule your appointment!