While urinary tract infections are not life threatening if treated early, they can cause serious symptoms if you delay getting treatment. The kidneys, bladder, ureter, and urethra make up the urinary tract, the section of the body that is responsible for expelling urine. Urine travels from the narrow tubes of the ureters from the kidneys and into the bladder before being expelled through the urethra and out of the body through the penis.
An infection of the urinary tract occurs when bacteria builds up anywhere within the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections are more common in women, but men can also get it.
There are two types of infections that occur in the urinary tract, which is divided into two parts. Either part, the upper tract or the lower tract, can be become infected. If the infection occurs in the lower tract, it will be located in the prostate, urethra, or the bladder. An infection in the upper tract will affect the ureters or kidneys.
The bacterium that most often invades the urinary tract is natural to the human body. Escherichia, also known as E. coli, invades the body through the urethra.
Men are more susceptible to urinary tract infections as they age. The prostate gland, which is typically the size of a walnut, can enlarge as men grow older. The growth of the prostate is referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia. As the prostate grows, it squeezes the bladder’s neck, the point at which the bladder is connected to the urethra. This can cause the bladder to not fully empty itself when you go to the bathroom. When the bladder fails to empty out all of the urine, natural bacteria fails to flush out, as well. This increases your risk of urinary tract infections.
Other factors that can cause urinary tract infections in men are having diabetes, living a sedentary lifestyle, being uncircumcised, and fecal incontinence. Your risk also increases if you do not drink enough water.
Diagnosing a urinary tract infection involves your doctor reviewing your symptoms, which include pain or a burning sensation when urinating, frequent urges to urinate, pain in the lower central abdomen, and blood in the urine. It also requires you to give a urine sample to be sent to a laboratory for testing to see if bacteria is present.
If you get frequent urinary tract infections, your doctor may recommend getting a digital rectal exam to determine if the prostate gland has enlarged, which may be a contributor to the frequent infections.
How to Avoid Getting Urinary Tract Infections
Good bathroom hygiene can help lessen the possibility of developing urinary tract infections. Wiping from front to back and away from the urethra can deter bacteria from entering your system.
Completely emptying the bladder is also important. If you notice you are not expelling all your urine, see a urologist before symptoms get worse. You can save yourself from a lot of health issues if you are proactive about your urological health and see a medical professional before painful or serious symptoms set in.
Finally, when you get the urge to go to the bathroom, don’t wait. Go when you feel the urge. Holding on to urine for extended periods of time can lead to health problems.
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment in Phoenix, Arizona
If you suspect you may have a urinary tract infection, another urological health issue, or a men’s health issue, Dr. Desi Avila of Ironwood Urology is happy to help.
Dr. Avila leads the way as a men’s health specialist and is a board-certified urologist. For more information, or to request an appointment, call (480) 961-2323. You can also request an appointment online.