Did you know that urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections that affect both men and women? While some people only experience this condition once in their lifetime, it can be chronic for others. UTIs have been linked to a series of other health conditions that affect the male reproductive system such as erectile dysfunction, urinary frequency, hematuria, premature ejaculation, and incontinence. Here are some of the things to look out for and what they may mean, and what your primary care provider (PCP) may suggest as treatment.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to have or sustain an erection. It can be caused by infections, medications, anxiety, depression, and other factors. Even lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, alcohol use, and smoking can cause erectile dysfunction. Your PCP may recommend you see an endocrinologist or a urologist. Their guidance may include vacuum pumps or even therapy.
It’s considered normal for people to urinate roughly 5 to 10 times a day. While factors such as drinking too much, medication, pregnancy, and anxiety may cause frequent urination, it is also one of the most common signs of a UTI.
Hematuria, or blood in your urine, is a sign of an underlying condition, including a UTI, and should be brought to the attention of your PCP. If your diagnosis is a UTI, treatment may include antibiotics. Or, the cause of the bleeding may require additional follow-up tests to identify an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
The exact cause of premature ejaculation remains unknown; however, it happens to men of all ages and may cause genuine concern. While it’s very personal, you should feel comfortable discussing it with your provider. Treatments for premature ejaculation include medication, therapy, and counseling.
Urinary incontinence occurs as a loss of bladder control, which results in the involuntary leakage of urine. Patients with urinary incontinence fall into four categories:
- Functional incontinence: A physical or mental impairment that prevents you from properly going to the bathroom.
- Stress incontinence: The leakage of urine whenever stress is placed on your bladder from coughing, sneezing, exercise, or other physical activity.
- Urge incontinence: An uncontrollable and sudden urge to urinate that results in involuntary leakage.
- Overflow incontinence: Frequent or constant leakage due to your bladder not fully emptying on its own.
Among these four distinct categories, it’s possible to experience symptoms of more than one type of urinary incontinence. Behavioral techniques, medication, and pelvic floor exercises are all examples of possible treatments your PCP may recommend to you.
Pay Attention, and Speak Up
If you suspect you might be suffering from a UTI, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with having one, you should schedule a visit with your PCP. The earlier you can address any health issues that impact your urinary tract and functioning, the better your chances for a successful treatment and recovery.
• Feldman HA, Goldstein I, Hatzichristou DG, Krane RJ, McKinlay JB. Impotence and its medical and psychosocial correlates: results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Urol 1994;151(January (1)):54–61.)
• Carson, C., Gunn, K. Premature ejaculation: definition and prevalence. Int J Impot Res 18, S5–S13 (2006).