While women are far more susceptible to cystitis, this is not to say that men cannot have it, and often when they contract a urinary infection, the symptoms are more severe. This is often because women get the infection through bacteria being passed from the back passage into the urinary tract, while for men the infection usually has an underlying medical cause, such as an enlarged prostate. In general, it is worth getting this checked by a doctor, particularly if it is the first time you have had an infection.
While cystitis in men can be caused by bacteria being transferred from the back passage to the urethra, this is not very common due to the anatomical distance between these two parts of the body. However, bacterial imbalances can occur in the urinary tract, especially if using harsh chemical soaps or wearing very tight-fitting synthetic underwear.
Diabetic men are more prone to developing cystitis as the altered sugar level in the urine can make an excellent place for bacteria to breed. Due to the nature of diabetes, even a minor infection can become more difficult to treat, so it is important to go to the doctor if you are diabetic and suspect that you have a bladder infection.
The most common cause of cystitis in men is urine retention. If the bladder does not fully empty, the urine left in the bladder can become stagnant, leading to infection. This can occur because of constipation or, more commonly, an enlarged prostate.
Both the bowel and the prostate gland are close to the bladder wall. If either become enlarged they can obstruct the bladder, making it difficult to empty fully when going to the toilet, as well as resulting in symptoms such as weak urine flow and frequent urination.
An enlarged prostate is very common in men over the age of 50, and if you are experiencing prostate symptoms, or suspect that this could be the cause of your cystitis, a trip to the doctor would be very worthwhile. Read more on our blog - how enlarged prostate can cause UTI's in men.
Treating an enlarged prostate early is very effective and can prevent symptoms worsening.
Essentially, the symptoms of cystitis are the same in men as they are for women. It can begin with an increased urge to urinate despite the passing of very small amounts of urine. Passing urine can become painful or be described as burning, and may be particularly smelly or cloudy in appearance. A bad infection can also lead to pelvic pain, fever and blood in the urine; symptoms that should be checked by a doctor.
The symptoms can improve of their own accord within a week, though often antibiotics are required to clear the infection. However, if there is an underlying medical cause that has not been addressed, you may be more prone to developing a repeat infection.
If a bladder infection is fairly mild, doctors often suggest treating it at home, or with over-the-counter painkillers to ease the symptoms. Some people also add herbal remedies here, for example Uva-ursi, a herb which cleanses and disinfects the bladder, helping to clear an infection.
However, if the infection is more severe, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics which are very effective in the treatment of cystitis and are likely to clear the symptoms within a week.
Alfred Vogel was a great believer in treating the root of a problem as this brings the most effective, long-term relief. Therefore it is important to find out what the underlying cause is from your doctor, particularly if you experience recurring bladder infections, as an alternative treatment may be more effective.
For example, if constipation has resulted in the bladder infection, treating this can be more effective. Constipation is best controlled through diet. If you are prone to constipation, changes to your diet may help, such as including more fresh fruit and vegetables in it, and eating more fibre and less refined sugar and caffeine. In severe cases of constipation, a laxative may be required. These are often available over-the-counter, but herbal laxatives such as linseeds are also very effective.
An enlarged prostate should be diagnosed and monitored by your doctor, however, if you are unsure what your symptoms might mean, why not take our online Enlarged Prostate Symptom Checker Test first?
Once diagnosed, your doctor may suggest conventional medicines, including alpha-blockers. Many men look to herbal remedies for this, as they have fewer associated side-effects. Saw Palmetto is a herb with a long traditional use in treating prostate problems. Fresh extracts of this herb are available in licensed herbal remedy A.Vogel Prostasan® Saw Palmetto tablets.