Man with hands over his groin experiencing symptoms and wondering if men can get a UTI

Can Men Get a UTI?

Medically reviewed on May 19, 2023 by Amy Harris, MS, RN, CNM. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) do get urinary infections (UTIs); however, women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) are 30 times more likely to have UTIs. [1,2] Just to review, a UTI is an infection involving any part of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidney. [3] Men are more likely to have UTIs when they are older (age 50 and above) than younger, as a result of changes in the prostate gland. [4,5] The prostate gland is a rubbery, ping-pong ball-sized gland found at the base of the penis in men and those AMAB.

What Are the Symptoms of a UTI in Men?

Men do experience many of the same UTI symptoms as women such as: [2]

  • Having to pee frequently (urinary frequency)
  • Burning or stinging feeling when peeing
  • Pain in the lower belly
  • Blood in the urine
  • A sudden urge to empty the bladder (urinary urgency)

So, can men get UTIs? Yes. And we’re exploring how below.

What Causes UTIs in Men?

Bacteria normally living in the gut frequently cause UTIs in women or those people AFAB when it is transferred inadvertently from the rectal area to the entrance to the female urinary tract (called the urethra). [1] Because the male urethra extends the length of the penis, it is harder for this bacterial contamination to happen, so males do not get UTIs in the same way as women.

Instead, most male UTIs occur when the prostate gland becomes larger, as commonly happens in older men. [2,4,6] block the flow of urine from the bladder to the urethra. This causes the urine to sit in the bladder for longer periods of time, creating an ideal breeding ground for bacteria resulting in a bacterial infection or urinary tract infection. [2]

As men age, they may need assistance emptying their bladder for a variety of different health conditions, especially during hospitalization or day surgery. Inserting a small tube through the urethra to the bladder is called catheterization. A catheter-associated urinary tract infection is one of the most common infections a person can contract in the hospital and is another common cause of male UTIs. [3]

Other medical conditions in men related to urinary tract infections and symptoms include: [2]

  • Prostatitis – Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate affecting 10 to 15 percent of people with prostates. Besides pain and UTI symptoms, the other common symptoms of prostatitis are body aches, urinary frequency, urinary blockage, and pain during or after ejaculation. [4] Prostatitis can occur only once, repeatedly (chronic), or even without any symptoms (called asymptomatic prostatitis). [4] Those with bacterial prostatitis will often have acute, chronic, or asymptomatic. [3]
  • Epididymitis – Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis, a small coiled tube located at the back of the testicles. UTIs or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) cause most cases of epididymitis, usually experienced as a tender scrotum (the sac holding the testicles). [5]
  • Orchitis – UTIs can also cause orchitis, swollen, tender, or inflamed testicles. Oftentimes, people will experience epididymitis and orchitis together. STIs or mumps infections are the most common cause of orchitis. [6]
  • Pyelonephritis – Also called a kidney infection, pyelonephritis occurs when bacteria from a UTI make their way up to the kidneys through the urinary tract. This type of bacterial infection requires immediate medical treatment since the bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream from the kidneys. Those with a kidney infection can experience fever, urinary urgency, nausea, and pain in the back, stomach, and side. [7]
  • Cystitis – Cystitis most often occurs as a result of a UTI and refers to an infection or inflammation of the bladder. In line with UTI symptoms, those with a bladder infection may exhibit frequent urination, burning sensations when urinating, and pelvic discomfort. [8]
  • Urethritis – Sexually-transmitted E. coli, chlamydia, and gonorrhea bacteria can cause urethritis, as well as a UTI. Urethritis is characterized by an inflamed urethra and presents as frequent urination or an inability to urinate. Those with urethritis may also experience blood in the semen or urine. [9]

Can Men Get UTIs from Having Sex?

Yes, but not as often as women do. Many sexually-active people wonder whether a UTI can be transmitted through sex? Sexual activity makes it very easy to pass harmful bacteria such as those that cause STIs between partners. It is also possible to inadvertently deliver bacteria normally living in the gut to the urethra. Because of the short distance between the rectum and the urethra in people with vaginas, it is much easier for women and those AFAB to develop a UTI after having sex, than it is for men or those AMAB.1 It is not very common for people with penises to get a UTI from sex. That said, UTIs are more common in men who practice anal intercourse and in those who are not circumcised. [2]

How Are Male UTIs Diagnosed?

Some healthcare providers diagnose a UTI in a male who has the combination of common UTI symptoms (painful urination, urinary frequency, and urinary urgency). Many providers prefer to order a urine test and perform a physical examination of the patient’s kidneys, bladder, prostate, and genitalia. [13]

How to Treat UTIs in Men

So, can a UTI go away on its own? It’s not advised to wait to see if a UTI will go away on its own. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a UTI, it’s important to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible to assess your condition.

One advantage of performing a urine test is that it can sometimes identify which type of bacteria or other organism is causing the UTI and which medication (usually an antibiotic) will work best to treat the UTI. Males and people AMAB diagnosed with UTIs are typically given the following antibiotics for treatment:

  • Fluoroquinolone
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ)
  • Minocycline
  • Nitrofurantoin

Most UTI symptoms should improve within 1-2 days of starting medication, but you should continue taking all of your antibiotics as prescribed to completely treat your infection. This will help protect against a repeat infection or antibiotic resistance. Once you finish taking the antibiotics, your healthcare provider may repeat your urine test to check that all of the bacteria are gone. If you have epididymitis, orchitis, prostatitis, or a kidney infection, you may need to take antibiotics for as long as three weeks. [2]

Men with severe infections may need to be hospitalized so that they can receive antibiotics and other medications through an intravenous catheter (in a vein). This is especially true if your nausea, vomiting and fever are severe enough to make it hard for you to take antibiotics by mouth or stay hydrated. [2]

Risk Factors for UTIs in Men

In men, certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing UTIs. Understanding these risk factors and how they contribute to the development of UTIs is critical for prevention and management. Those with a clinical history of the following are often more susceptible to UTIs. [11]

  • History of prior UTIs
  • Nocturia, or waking up throughout the night to urinate
  • Bloody urine
  • An enlarged prostate
  • Diabetes
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Previous urinary tract surgeries
  • Prior catheterization

Changes in normal anatomy are also a primary risk factor for recurrent UTI symptoms in men. [1] an enlarged prostate, other abnormalities can include kidney stones or a narrow urethra, which can both block or limit the flow of urine. [2,11]

Get Answers to Your Male UTI Questions with Everlywell

While urinary tract infections (UTIs) can occur in both men and individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB), they’re more frequently seen in women and those AFAB typically present with similar symptoms such as pain or burning sensation when urinating, frequent urination, and a strong urge to urinate even when the bladder is empty.

If you suspect a UTI, seeking medical attention is important to prevent complications, such as a more serious kidney infection. But, can you be treated for your UTI treatment online? Fortunately, with Everlywell, you can schedule a telehealth appointment with one of our healthcare providers. In most cases, after a clinical interview over the telephone, they will be able to diagnose your condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan, all from the comfort of your home.

Book your appointment today to get started.

How to Prevent UTIs

Can a UTI Be Transmitted Through Sex?

Kidney Infection vs. UTI


  1. Urinary tract infections. Office on Women’s Health (OASH). URL. Updated February 22, 2021. Accessed May 24, 2023.
  2. Shmerling R. Urinary tract infection in men. Harvard Health Publishing. URL. Published December 5, 2022. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  3. Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI). CDC. URL. Published October 15, 2015. Accessed May 24, 2023.
  4. Brusch J. Urinary tract infection (UTI) in males. Medscape. URL. Published March 27, 2023. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  5. Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL. Published July 2014. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  6. What causes UTIs & UI? NIH. URL. Published May 5, 2022. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  7. Epididymitis. NIH. URL. Published April 22, 2021. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  8. Orchitis. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed July 8, 2021. Published May 10, 2023.
  9. Kidney Infection. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  10. Cystitis. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  11. Urethritis. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Published April 5, 2022. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  12. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). Mayo Clinic. URL. Published September 14, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2023.
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