Why are urine infections less common in men, but more dangerous?

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Why are urine infections less common in men, but more dangerous?
Image Credit: CDC

It is rare that a woman has not had a urine infection at some time in her life, while it is rare for a man to have urine infections. It is an infection that can occur in any part of the urinary system: the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra; although most occur in the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra).

As the Mayo Clinic recalls in this regard, women are more likely to get a urinary infection than men. “Infection that is limited to the bladder can be painful and annoying. However, it can have serious consequences if the urinary infection spreads to the kidneys,” the entity warns.

According to the experts, the lower frequency of urinary infection in men than in women is due to the anatomical differences of the urinary system, shorter in women, and to the differences in the environmental conditions that facilitate the infection.

“The causative agents of the infection are intestinal bacteria that ascend through the urethra. The shorter length of the female urethra and the antibacterial properties of the prostate fluid in men determine the differentiation of urinary infection according to sex,” as clarified by the experts.

Thus, it details that urinary infection in men is usually related to manipulation of the urinary tract and structural abnormalities (obstruction of the urine excretion pathways) or functional abnormalities of the urinary system. 

“For this reason, urinary infection in men is usually considered a ‘complicated infection’,” according to the experts.

In fact, the agency cites that the most frequent obstructive disorders associated with urinary tract infection in men are lithiasis (nephritic colic and fever) and prostatic tumor pathology (benign hyperplasia and carcinoma).

SYMPTOMS OF URINARY INFECTION IN MAN

Specifically, it details that the symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in men are similar to those of urinary tract infection in women: High urinary frequency with urgency, itching, voiding pain, voiding difficulty, the sensation of incomplete urination, and hematuria (blood in urine). 

When the infection involves the prostate, corners, and seminal tracts, it also causes a high fever.

Some specialists emphasize that the diagnosis is confirmed by the presence of the aforementioned symptoms, as well as with a urine analysis where the germ that causes the infection is identified so that the appropriate antibiotic for treatment can be assessed. 

For the diagnosis of possible anatomical / functional alterations in the urinary system, ultrasound (ultrasound) and radiological studies are used.

On the other hand, some European specialists indicate that the treatment of UTI in men includes the treatment of the causative agent and the associated structural/functional alterations.

“Treatment of the causative agent, mainly microorganisms of intestinal origin (enterobacteria), will be done according to the sensitivity pattern of the microorganism and the existence of involvement of the prostate (prostatitis), epididymis (epididymitis), or kidney (pyelonephritis). In these cases, longer treatment guidelines are required, and possibly with antimicrobials that have more capacity to diffuse into the compromised organs. The treatment indicated in these cases will be the specific one for each pathology,” they explained.