A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of any part of your urinary system (kidneys, ureter, bladder, prostate and urethra) and while they are more common in women, it is a myth that they’re the only ones that get them. 12% of men get UTIs, and the consequences of the condition can be mild or severe. This is just one of many misconceptions about UTIs that people have, so let’s explore what ideas people have about this infection, and what is true.
For men dealing with UTIs in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Greater South Florida areas, Drs. Craig Herman, Steven Kester, and the Urology Center of Florida are there with 25 years of experience and state of the art facilities and treatments.
Here are some of the myths about male UTIs:
Myth: Male UTIs are caused by poor hygiene
Fact: Many of the differences between male and female UTIs are anatomical. Poor hygiene, namely wiping from “back to front,” is a common UTI risk factor for women, as this can easily spread bacteria into the urinary tract. Men are more likely to get a UTI from a medical issue that traps bacteria or interferes with fighting infections, such as a suppressed immune system or a urinary tract blockage.
Though rare, it is still possible for men to get a UTI when external bacteria enters the urinary tract. Men who use urinary catheters may be at increased risk. Hygiene, while important, is rarely the culprit.
Myth: UTIs can be treated by cranberry juice or probiotics
Fact: It’s conventional wisdom that cranberry juice can help stop or even prevent a UTI. There is a scientific basis for it, given some of the properties of the drink. Cranberry juice has proanthocyanidin, a chemical that inhibits bacteria from sticking to the bladder. But studies show there is no evidence that it can stop or prevent urinary tract infections, and any evidence of probiotics helping to protect from UTIs are minor at best. If you think you may have a UTI, it’s important you see your doctor and follow a treatment plan, which may include taking a course of antibiotics.
Myth: You can only get a UTI from sex
Fact: A key difference between UTIs in men and women is that women are much likelier to contract UTIs from sex for anatomical reasons. Women have much shorter urethras than men, so sex is likelier to introduce bacteria into a woman’s urinary tract. Though not impossible, men are at much lower risk of getting a UTI from sex.
Myth: UTIs are nothing to worry about
Fact: Though painful and uncomfortable, you may think of UTIs as a minor, temporary condition. UTIs can go away on their own or be treated with a course of antibiotics, and though you should never ignore them, most are not cause for alarm. However, UTIs can cause serious complications, including for men.
Men are likelier than women to get UTIs from bacteria that is already present in their body, which poses a risk of the infection spreading. Some complicated UTIs can even cause kidney damage. If you have chronic UTIs, men risk the narrowing of their urethra (called urethral stricture) which can create problems with urinating, in turn increasing your risk of further UTIs.
If you have symptoms of a UTI, including painful urination and cloudy urine, it is important to get checked as soon as possible. So make an appointment with Drs. Herman, Kester, and the Urology Center of Florida today for treatment and relief.