A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs if any part of your urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, kidneys, and ureters, is infected by bacteria. A UTI in the bladder is known as cystitis, and a UTI in the urethra and kidney is known as urethritis and pyelonephritis. Though a UTI is not a life-threatening condition, it needs to be addressed immediately to avoid further complications such as sepsis, kidney failure, and fevers.
What Can Cause a UTI?
There are different causes of UTIs in men and women.
Causes of UTIs in Women
Women are 30 times more likely to get UTIs than men because a woman's urethra (a tube from the bladder passing urine out of the body) is shorter than a man's. Also, the urethral opening is closer to the anus and the vagina, making it easier for the bacteria to enter the bladder, thus causing an infection. Other factors that increase women’s risk of UTIs are:
- Frequent sexual activity
- Fecal incontinence
- Recent urinary tract surgery
- Spinal cord injuries or other nerve damage that makes it difficult to empty the bladder
- Birth control pills
- Kidney stones
Causes of UTIs in Men
Older men are more susceptible to UTIs because they are more likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland). The prostate wraps around the bladder’s neck, where the urethra connects to it, thus making it difficult to empty. If the bladder does not empty, bacteria that are flushed through the urine might stay and cause an infection. Besides an enlarged prostate gland, other factors contributing to men’s UTIs are:
- Kidney stones
- Anal intercourse
- Abnormal narrowing of the urethra
- Urine incontinence
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Urinary tract abnormalities that prevent urination
- Health conditions or medications that suppress the immune system
- Urinary tract surgery
Also read: How Frequently Should You Visit Your Primary Care Physician
Urinary Incontinence (UI) in Women and Its Causes
Problems with the nerves and muscles that hold or release urine can cause UI. For example, sudden contraction of bladder muscles (that shrink to force urine into the urethra) or weakened sphincter muscles (that hold urine) can cause UI. Other causes of UI include:
- Age-related or behavioral changes
- Vaginal infection or irritation
- Thinning and drying of the vaginal or urethral skin after menopause
- Being overweight or obese (that puts pressure on the bladder and its controlling muscles)
- Childbirth or genetic reasons causing weakened and stretched pelvic muscles
- Bladder nerve damage caused by an injury, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s
Can Men Contract UTIs from Women?
No! The bacteria present in the man’s urinary tract can only cause the infection. Catching a UTI during intercourse with a woman is very unlikely.
Also read: Pneumonia Symptoms: Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore
UTI Treatment Options
UTIs are generally treated with:
If you have a UTI, you may need to take antibiotics. Depending on the type of antibiotic your doctor recommends, you will have to take the tablets once or twice a day for five to seven days or more.
- Increasing the fluid intake
Your doctor might recommend more water intake and to urinate often (it helps flush the bacteria from your body) while taking antibiotics. Some people also drink cranberry juice during UTIs, but there’s not enough evidence to suggest that it actually helps.
If you develop UTIs, you should always consult your doctor before taking any medicine or fluid.
If you are looking for effective UTI treatment in Newnan, contact us today. At Newnan Family Medicine Associates P.C., our experienced healthcare providers will provide personalized treatment and professional medical guidance to help you recover quickly.