While bladder infections are more common in women than they are in men, men do suffer from bladder infections. A bladder infection is an inflammation of the bladder or urethra from over growth of bacteria. Once this infection occurs there is a higher risk for an individual to develop a kidney infection, epididymitis, prostatitis or orchitis.
When a man or young boy between the ages of three months and 50 years presents with a urinary tract infection anatomical abnormalities must be considered. This is because the incidence of urinary tract infections in this group of men is very low. However, once a man reaches the age of 50 their incidence of urinary tract infections increases. This may be because the prostate begins to enlarge and changes the structural integrity of the urinary tract. The prostate is a gland which surrounds the urethra, the tube that runs from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Other factors that appear to increase the risk of bladder infections in men over 50 is the absence of circumcision and any urinary catheterization that may be necessary for other underlying medical conditions. The routes of a bacterial infection may be a direct ascent up the urinary tract or spread from the prostate. The risk of urinary tract infection will increase when an individual has a lowered resistance due to other medical conditions, increased alcohol consumption, trauma to the urethra or infections in other parts of the genitourinary system.
Symptoms include burning and stinging on urination, frequent urination although there is a small amounts, pain in the pubic area, discharge from the penis, low back pain, blood in the urine, low fever and bad smelling urine. These symptoms are very similar to those in women who present with urinary tract infections.
If the infection is caught very early or appears to be mild men over the age of 50 can begin treatment at home for the first 24 hours. These home treatments will help to decrease the pain and inflammation prior to being seen by a physician. Men younger than 50 should make every attempt to see their doctor as soon as possible. Home treatments include drinking 8 ounces of cranberry juice three times a day to change the acidity of the urine and makes the environment hostile for bacteria. Individuals should also drink 8 ounces of water every hour to 90 minutes in order to increase the amount of fluid traveling through the bladder to flush out the bacteria.
Evaluation by the primary care physician will include a thorough medical history and physical examination. The doctor will also request a urine sample for culture and sensitivity to determine the exact bacteria which is growing in the urine and determine the antibiotic which will be most effective.
Men should avoid sexual intercourse until they have been free from symptoms for two weeks to allow the inflammation to subside and help healing. Individuals should also avoid food or drinks with caffeine and alcohol during the treatments.
Once treatment has begun individuals should expect their symptoms to subside within the first 24 to 48 hours. Doctors are able to prescribe Pyridium, an anesthetic for the bladder and urethra which will decrease the pain but not treat the infection. Pyridium will turn the urine orange and will stain clothing and underwear.
If the symptoms do not subside or appear to be getting worse individuals should consult with their doctors immediately to prevent any permanent damage to other organs which may be infected as well.
University of Maryland Medical Center: Urinary Tract Infection in Adults
Urology Care Foundation: Urinary Tract Infections In Adults
MayoClinic: Urinary Tract Infection
Drugs.com: Urinary Tract Infection in Men
National Association for Continence: Urinary Tract Infection