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Urinary Tract Infections in Men

Causes of UTI


Updated July 14, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Millions of urinary tract infections develop in men each year. And even though such infections in men are less common than in women, it's still important to recognize the symptoms and get treatment quickly. Infections of the urinary system (the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra) can be very serious, and even life-threatening.

Function of the Urinary System

The function of the urinary system is to rid the body of liquid waste (about a quart and a half of urine per day), keep a healthy balance of substances and salts in the blood, and produce a hormone that contributes to the formation of red blood cells. The flow of urine helps prevent infection by washing out infectious agents. The prostate gland also produces fluids that slow bacterial growth.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urine is normally sterile, but under certain circumstances, bacteria (often E-coli that live in the colon) can move into the urethra, causing an infection called urethritis. The infection may move up the system to the bladder (called cystitis) or to the kidneys (pyelonephritis).
  • Microorganisms called chlamydia and mycoplasma can both be transmitted sexually. When this happens, both partners have to be treated for the infection.

  • Men with abnormalities of the urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate, are more prone to urinary infection.

  • Men who have a catheter or tube placed in the bladder are more susceptible to infection.

  • Men with diabetes or any disease that suppresses the immune system are more prone to UTI.

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