UTIs can affect any part of the urinary system including the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. There are many and varied causes of UTI in both men and women. The common thread however revolves around harmful microbes entering the urinary system, most often a bacterium called E. coli.
The urinary tract is tasked with removing harmful waste from the body, and does so efficiently. However, when these microbes overwhelm the urinary tract, problems can occur.
Men are most at risk of a UTI when the flow of urine is slowed or blocked, allowing bacteria to thrive. A common occurrence involves complications associated with BPH. UTIs can also occur in men due to diabetes, catheter use, a suppressed immune system and more. UTIs are also possible side effect of certain BPH treatments including surgery and in-office treatments. Close monitoring for infection and following recommended post-procedure protocols can reduce the chance of developing a UTI.
Most UTIs are easily treated and do not cause significant complications. Left untreated, UTIs can cause many serious issues, most commonly, kidney infections. These infections can cause permanent damage to the organ, including reduced kidney function, scarring and more. If the infection spreads from the kidney to the bloodstream – septicemia – the result can be life-threatening.
As with any infection, the body responds rapidly and predictably. However, symptoms of a UTI can mimic those of other conditions, so visit a qualified physician at the first signs or urinary trouble.
A diagnosis begins with a visit to a qualified physician or urologist who will perform a simple urine test. This, combined with a medical history, should yield a cause of the symptoms. If there are any questions or uncertainties as to the origin of symptoms, additional tests will be performed.
Antibiotics are the primary course of treatment for UTIs. The medication used depends on the bacterial strain. Treatment for the underlying cause (such as BPH) may be indicated to avoid recurrence. Or, the physician may point out lifestyle issues that may have contributed to the infection. If diagnosed with a UTI, the patient may be asked to increase their fluid (water) intake to assist in flushing the bacteria, however this may not be appropriate for all patients. Consult your physician.