Although less frequent than in women, urine infections also occur with men. These infections may be located in different areas of the urinary tracts, especially around the bladder, kidneys, urethra (the channel between the bladder and the exterior) and prostate.
Urine infections in the bladder and kidneys are rare in young men, they become more common from the age of 60. Urethritis is more frequent in young men, given that it is caused by a sexually transmitted infection.
Symptoms of a urine infection include frequently wanting to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating and sometimes an urgent need to urinate.
Kidney infections are called “pyelonephritis”. They often spread by travelling up the urinary tract from the bladder. The symptoms of pyelonephritis appear suddenly, including chills, fever, pain in the lower back, nausea and vomiting. Nearly a third of people suffering from pyelonephritis also experience cystitis symptoms.
Your doctor will often suggest additional tests. This may be a test using a urine strip which only takes a few minutes, or it may be a “urine culture” which takes a few days to get the result. A urine culture may confirm the presence of an infection, identify the bacteria which is responsible and ensure that the antibiotic prescribed is effective.
In men, urine infections are often associated with anomalies in the urinary tracts, whether anatomical or functional (for example, not being able to fully empty the bladder). Infections sometimes occur following an intervention to the genito-urinary organs.
It may not always be possible to identify the cause of a urine infection, but it may be fostered by malformations of the urinary tracts, even if they are minor, or of their function, such as not being able to fully empty the bladder. Interventions, such as implanting a urinary catheter, or operations on the genito-urinary organs, may foster these infections.
Infections of the urinary tracts are treated with antibiotics. For a bladder infection, the treatment is most often taken for a period of 7 days (Ciprofloxacine or Co-trimoxazole). Depending on the results of a urine test, you may be offered a different antibiotic a few days later.
It is important to drink 2 litres per day (non-alcoholic drinks) to help your body eliminate the bacteria which have infected your bladder.
Symptoms often improve over the first three days of treatment, even if progress is slow.
If you would like to find out more, you can find further information on urine infections on the Passeport santé website. You will also find a video which explains urine infections on the CHUV’s medical atlas.