Urinary tracts infections (UTI) are almost 30 times more common in women than men, making them more difficult to recognize in men. Compared to UTIs in women, UTIs in men are more likely to be associated with serious problems such as sexually transmitted disease, enlarged prostate and, in rare cases, cancer. If you have the symptoms of UTI, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
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Common Signs and Symptoms
Dysuria, the sensation of pain or discomfort during urination, is the most common symptom of urinary tract infection in men and women. Urgency is another symptom; you may feel an urgent need to visit the restroom, as if you’ve just downed a supersized beverage. The difference is, with a UTI, the volume that triggers your urge to go is much less than what is normal for you, which leads to another symptom--frequency. Together, the presence of dysuria, urgency and frequency is 75 percent predictive of a urinary tract infection.
However, not all men with a UTI experience these symptoms. Particularly in chronic UTI, older men or men with other medical problems, the first clues may be changes in the color, odor or consistency of urine. Normal urine is a light yellow color that varies with fluid intake. Anything substantially outside of your normal range, accompanied by a foul odor or with the appearance of particulate matter may signal a UTI.
Blood in urine may be a sign of UTI or more serious problems. Blood may present as obvious blood, clots or a pinkish tinge. If you suspect blood in your urine, schedule an appointment with your physician, regardless of whether you have other symptoms of a UTI.
Less Common Signs and Symptoms
Penile discharge and pain or swelling of the scrotum, prostate, rectum or inguinal lymph nodes aren't typically thought of as symptoms of UTI, but the urinary and reproductive systems share a common conduit in males. Presence of these symptoms may signal a primary infection or inflammation of the epidydymis, prostate or urethra. If you experience them, schedule an appointment with your physician or go to an urgent care facility if they're severe.
When You Should Go to the Emergency Department
If you experience fever, chills, back or flank pain, suprapubic pain or nausea and vomiting, go to the emergency room. In rare cases, urinary tract infections ascend to the kidneys, a condition called pyelonephritis. From there, the infection can spread to the rest of your bloodstream (sepsis) and cause a permanent loss of kidney function. If you’re older, immunosuppressed such as from cancer or HIV, or suffer from multiple medical problems, you may be at greater risk of developing pyelonephritis.