Do you feel a burning sensation while urinating? A lower-abdomen pain or the urine turning reddish? Does your urine have a strong odour? All these are the common symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to experts.
“UTI in men is always complicated and it occurs due to any kind of obstruction in the urinary tract, uncontrolled diabetes and decreased immunity,” says Dr Javed M Vakil, a senior nephrologist, Aartham Multi Super Specialty Hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is an infection of the urinary systems: kidneys, uterus, bladder and urethra (organs producing and carrying urine out of a person’s body).
Depending on the location of the infections, a UTI is classified as:
- Urethritis: lower-tract infection that affects the urethra
- Cystitis: affects the bladder
- Pyelonephritis: upper-tract infection that affects the kidneys
What causes a UTI?
“In men above the age of 45-50, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common cause of UTIs,” says Dr Anupam Kapur, head of INHS Asvini in Mumbai. “Prostate is a gland present just at the exit of the urethra, and it surrounds the urethra all around. In males, with advancing age, the prostate gland may get enlarged and the person may present with symptoms of urgency, frequency, night urination, hesitancy, incomplete void or poor stream of urine. Other causes of UTI in men are the presence of any stones in the urinary tract, unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner and poor personal hygiene.”
According to Dr Kapur, diabetes is also another cause of UTIs.
Symptoms of UTIs
Dr Kapur says the symptoms include:
- Burning sensation while passing urine
- Increased frequency of micturition (act of urinating)
- Hesitancy to initiate micturition
- Dribbling of urine
- Sensation of incomplete evacuation of urine
- Frothy urine with pungent and strong odour
- Presence of any fever
- Flank pain.
UTIs: suggested precautions
Dr Kapur says that prevention begins by early identification of the symptoms and consulting a urologist immediately. According to him, doctors use a scoring system — the International Prostate Scoring System — to determine the severity of the disease, and a score of eight or more is highly suggestive of BPH.
People with BPH should:
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid alcohol
- Follow medications.
“Once the infection reaches other organs, it can — if left untreated — lead to kidney failure [and] multiple-organ failure due to septicemia, which is an infection of the blood,” says Dr Vakil. According to him, to prevent any obstruction in the urinary tract, strict control of sugar and a good amount of water consumption is necessary.
UTIs: other treatments
“Non-surgical or medical treatments for UTI include oral or intravenous antibiotics and other medications to treat BPH,” says Dr Kapur. “Surgical interventions include surgery for BPH and to remove the offending calculus [kidney stones]. All these surgeries are possible endoscopically.”
Dr Kapur highlights the following to reduce the chances of contracting UTIs:
- Good personal hygiene
- Consuming a good quantity of fluids
- Regular use of barrier contraceptives in the form of condoms.