What is a UTI?
Urinary tract infection or UTI is a bacterial infection of the urinary system or tract that can affect any of the organs in your urinary tract, most commonly the bladder or urethra.
Common symptoms include increased urinary frequency (urinating much more often than usual), urinary urgency (needing to urinate suddenly and urgently when the need to urinate arises), as well as strong urine odor, pain or burning during urination, and sometimes blood in the urine.
UTIs are non-contagious and are treated with antibiotics. Immediate treatment is recommended to avoid complications resulting from the bacteria reaching the kidney, prostate or bloodstream.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Pain, burning, or stinging with urination
- Urinary urgency (the need to urinate immediately/urgently)
- Urinary frequency (going to the bathroom much more often than usual)
- Uncontrolled leakage
- Penis or pelvic pain
- Blood in the urine
- Inability to urinate or sensation of not emptying your bladder
More severe UTIs may include:
- Fever or chills
- Back pain
- Rectal pain
Common risk factors in males include:
- Enlarged prostate
- Inability to completely empty your bladder
- History of previous UTIs
- History of bladder stones
- Recent bladder or prostate procedure or surgery
- Recent bladder catheter
- STDs can also mimic common UTI symptoms
Treatment in males
Most UTIs can be treated successfully with oral antibiotics. Typically a 7-day course is sufficient for an uncomplicated UTI.
People tend to feel better very quickly once treatment is started, but in some cases (where there is inflammation in the bladder that persists after the infection is gone) it may take up to 2 weeks for symptoms to disappear completely.
Other supportive measures
- Drink a lot of water – it really helps to clear out your system!
- Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol as these can irritate your bladder.
- You can get Azo (Phenazopyridine) over the counter for pain relief (and do not be alarmed if your urine turns bright orange from it).
Seek in-person medical care if:
- You do NOT feel some improvement of your symptoms within 48-72 hours of beginning your treatment
- You develop chills or fever >100 F
- You develop severe pelvic pain or back pain
- You vomit
- You feel lightheaded
- There is any blood in your urine
- You can’t urinate
Check in with K if:
- You have any general questions about your UTI
- You have any allergic reactions (e.g. rash) to the medication you were prescribed
- Your symptoms persist for 10 days after you started antibiotics
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.