Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Men: Care Instructions

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The male reproductive system


A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a term for an infection anywhere between the kidneys and the urethra. (The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body.) Most UTIs are bladder infections. They often cause pain or burning when you urinate.

UTIs are caused by bacteria. This means they can be cured with antibiotics. Be sure to complete your treatment so that the infection does not get worse.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your antibiotics as prescribed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may have prescribed a medicine, such as phenazopyridine (Pyridium), to help relieve pain when you urinate. This turns your urine orange. You may stop taking it when your symptoms get better. But be sure to take all of your antibiotics, which treat the infection.
  • Drink extra water for the next day or two. This will help make the urine less concentrated and help wash out the bacteria causing the infection. (If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit your fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase your fluid intake.)
  • Avoid drinks that are carbonated or have caffeine. They can irritate the bladder.
  • Urinate often. Try to empty your bladder each time.
  • To relieve pain, take a hot bath or lay a heating pad (set on low) over your lower belly or genital area. Never go to sleep with a heating pad in place.

To help prevent UTIs

  • Drink plenty of fluids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Urinate when you have the urge. Do not hold your urine for a long time. Urinate before you go to sleep.
  • Keep your penis clean.

Catheter care

If you have a drainage tube (catheter) in place, the following steps will help you care for it.

  • Always wash your hands before and after touching your catheter.
  • Check the area around the urethra for inflammation or signs of infection. Signs of infection include irritated, swollen, red, or tender skin, or pus around the catheter.
  • Clean the area around the catheter with soap and water two times a day. Dry with a clean towel afterward.
  • Do not apply powder or lotion to the skin around the catheter.

To empty the urine collection bag

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Without touching the drain spout, remove the spout from its sleeve at the bottom of the collection bag. Open the valve on the spout.
  • Let the urine flow out of the bag and into the toilet or a container. Do not let the tubing or drain spout touch anything.
  • After you empty the bag, clean the end of the drain spout with tissue and water. Close the valve and put the drain spout back into its sleeve at the bottom of the collection bag.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Symptoms such as a fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting get worse or happen for the first time.
  • You have new pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
  • There is new blood or pus in your urine.
  • You are not able to take or keep down your antibiotics.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You are not getting better after taking an antibiotic for 2 days.
  • Your symptoms go away but then come back.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.