Bladder infection
  • For Men
  • For Men

10 symptoms of bladder infection in men and how to treat it

Written by: Editors

Last update:

Bladder infection

A bladder infection falls under the category of urinary tract infection (UTI). It is estimated to affect 1 out of 100 men each year. Bladder infections are not contagious.

What is a bladder infection?

A bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is an inflammation of the bladder lining. The infection is caused by bacteria, most often by bacteria that originate in the digestive tract. The bacteria get into the opening of urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body, and then move into the bladder. Then they multiply.

If the infection only affects the urethra, it is referred to as urethritis. Bladder infection occurs when the bacteria stick to the lining of the bladder and cause inflammation. If left untreated, the bacteria can move from the bladder into the kidneys, resulting in pyelonephritis. In men, a bladder infection can also lead to inflammation of the testicles or prostate gland.

What can cause a bladder infection?

Risk factors for a bladder infection in both men and women are:

  1. Bladder stones or kidney stones.
  2. A weakened immune system resulting from, for instance diabetes.
  3. Use of a urinary catheter, a flexible tube used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag.
  4. Inability to empty the bladder completely (urinary retention). This is a common cause of bladder infection in older men.

Symptoms of a bladder infection

Do you feel the urge to urinate more often than normal or pass small amounts of urine? Do you get a burning sensation during urination? Then chances are you have a bladder infection. How do you recognise signs of a bladder infection?

Here are 10 symptoms:

  1. Increased need to urinate.
  2. Frequent urge to urinate despite having an empty bladder.
  3. Burning sensation before or during urination.
  4. Smelly or cloudy urine.
  5. Bloody urine.
  6. Itchiness in the genital area.
  7. Incontinence (in older men with a bladder infection).
  8. Stabbing pain in the lower abdomen and/or lower back.
  9. Pain between the anus and testicles.
  10. Low-grade fever.

Are you feeling very ill? Do you feel feverish and have pain in your flank or sides? Then you could also have a prostate and/or kidney infection. If you have these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

What to do if you have a bladder infection?

Because a bladder infection in men is often accompanied by a prostate infection, your doctor will probably start you on antibiotics immediately. The first step is to test a sample of your urine to diagnose a bladder infection. In some cases, a GP may culture your urine to find out what type of bacteria is causing the infection. Based on the results of the urine culture, your GP can prescribe a specific antibiotic to fight certain bacteria.

Some men with a bladder infection are referred to a urologist. This is usually done when the prescribed medicines are not working or if you have recurrent bladder infections.

For 25% of people who have had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within 12 months. If you order a self-test, you can take action quickly when you get the first symptoms.

How can you prevent a bladder infection?

Drink a lot, at least two to three litres a day. By regularly drinking a lot of water, tea or milk, the bladder is thoroughly flushed out, which reduces the risk of bacteria reproduction. Go to the toilet regularly and empty your bladder completely.

A bladder infection isn't contagious, so you don't have to worry about infecting your partner, or vice versa.

All treatments