Men are less likely to develop kidney infections (pyelonephritis) than women.
Thanks to their anatomy, men’s urethra are relatively far from their anus and genitals, preventing bacteria to easily reach and infiltrate the urinary tract. But this does not make men immune to a kidney infection. Men should be wary of the signs and symptoms of kidney infection because doing so can help them immediately make informed decisions.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of kidney infection in men are more or less the same as that in women. But the most common visible manifestations are the following:
- Urination discomforts and difficulties
- Dysuria or painful urination-Is the main indication that there is something wrong with men’s urinary tract. At first, urination may not be painful but eventually, men will feel a painful or stinging sensation while peeing, making it difficult for them to urinate.
- Strong and frequent urge for urination-Men with infected kidneys may also have a strong and frequent urge for urination even if they just peed.
- Frequent urination-Although men may want to frequently pee due to kidney infection, they may also observe a weak flow of urine. It can also be difficult for them to fully empty their bladder.
- Changes in urine smell and color
- Cloudy urine-Urine’s color says a lot about the health of the urinary tract. So if the urine becomes cloudy, it can be a sign of an infection in the urinary tract. Cloudy red or cloudy brown urine can be due to the presence of “invisible” but significant amount of blood and pus in the urine. Men should see a doctor immediately when they experience this.
- Bloody urine-Visible blood in the urine can be very alarming as it can be a sign of infection in the urinary tract. Men with bloody urine should consult with their doctor to verify its cause.
- Pyuria or increased amount of pus in the urine is another common sign of a kidney infection in men. Pus in the urine can be difficult to determine but possible through laboratory examinations.
- Foul-smelling urine.-An unpleasant smell in men’s urine is a sign of an increased amount of pus in the urine and presence of bacteria that cause kidney infection.
Other symptoms that men should also be wary of include:
- Diarrhea-May happens when the body is trying to fight an infection. It is one of the body’s ways to flush out infection-causing bacteria from the body.
- Nausea, vomiting, and trouble eating. When the infection starts to spread, the kidney may fail to function well. It can be difficult for it to totally eliminate wastes in the body. When this happens the patient may feel nauseous, vomit, and lost their appetite.
- Pains and other discomforts. Men with kidney infections may experience pains in their lower abdomen, flanks, back, and testicles. The location of the pain can help determine which kidney is affected. Men may also feel other discomforts such as night sweats, chills, uncontrollable shivering, fatigue, and lethargy.
- Fever- Men should not ignore it when they got a fever, especially if it is accompanied by any of the other signs and symptoms of kidney infections such as bloody urine. Even a low fever can indicate that their kidney is already infected by bacteria.
Men can develop kidney infection if they have poor hygiene and regularly engage in unprotected sex. At first, the infection starts at the lower urinary tract, which can then reach the upper urinary tract if not aptly treated, leading to a kidney infection.
Men with enlarged prostates, kidney diseases, and bladder problems are also prone to a kidney infection. Their urine cannot flow normally, leading to retention of bacteria in the urinary tract. Other illnesses such as diabetes can also lead to kidney infections in men because it weakens their immune system, making them vulnerable to infections.
Further, kidney infections can also develop in men who use catheters. Catheters can cause bacteria buildup in the urinary tract, which can then give rise to kidney infections.
To prevent kidney infections from developing, men should practice proper hygiene, avoid unprotected sex, drink enough amount of fluids, avoid holding their pee, and maintain a healthy diet.
Kidney infections commonly develop among men who are uncircumcised, 50 years old and above, and/or sexually active (particularly those who practice unprotected anal sex).
Men who are suffering from enlarged prostate, kidney diseases, and bladder problems are also susceptible to kidney infections.
Treatment and Diagnosis
Kidney infections in men are usually diagnosed by first reviewing the patient’s medical history, followed by physical exams and laboratory tests. Men usually undergo a digital rectal exam to check if the patient’s prostate is swollen.
Kidney infections are less common in men than in women. It can also be cured and prevented. However, men should be wary of the signs and symptoms because neglect can lead to more severe kidney complications.