toilet paper

Dealing with burning down below? Feeling the need to wee more often than usual? You could have a urinary tract infection (UTI), which affects one in three uncircumcised men and one in 12 circumcised men in their lifetime.

It can be alarming when there's trouble with your tackle, but here’s what you need to know about urinary tract infections in men, their causes, symptoms and treatment options.


What are urinary tract infections?

A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder and urethra.


Causes of urinary tract infections in men

Urinary tract infections are usually caused by unhealthy bacteria, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli). They can also be caused by other micro-organisms, such as mycoplasma and chlamydia, which are sexually transmitted.

In older men, urinary tract infections are often due to benign prostate hyperplasia or prostate enlargement. An enlarged prostate can press against the neck of the bladder, making it harder for urine to flow freely and preventing the bladder from emptying completely. This allows bacteria to grow that would usually be flushed with urination.

People with diabetes[1] are also at a higher risk of developing UTIs because of changes to their immune system, poor bladder emptying due to nerve damage and high glucose levels in their urine encouraging bacterial growth.

Anal intercourse without a condom can also expose the urethra to more bacteria, increasing your risk of developing a UTI.


Symptoms of UTIs

  • Frequent urination
  • Strong, persistent urge to urinate (urgency)
  • Burning or tingling sensation during or just after urination (dysuria)
  • Low-grade fever
  • Cloudy urine with a strong odour
  • Blood in urine (haematuria)


What should you do if you have a UTI?

It’s important to get medical attention if you think you might have a urinary tract infection so book an appointment with your doctor. It’s not something you should try to treat yourself or just ignore. 

To diagnose a urinary tract infection, your doctor will test your urine to see which micro-organism is present. Early treatment of urinary tract infections can help to prevent infection from spreading to the bladder or kidneys. It’s also important to find out if there are any underlying causes of your UTI that need to be addressed. 


[1] Salari, N., Karami, M.M., Bokaee, S. et al. The prevalence of urinary tract infections in type 2 diabetic patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Med Res 27, 20 (2022).

Related articles

Subscribe to the monthly newsletter

Each month we release two email newsletters – one written for men, family and friends, and another for health practitioners.

Which newsletter/s would you like to subscribe to?