Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Genital tract infections are a quite common cause of male fertility issues. These might risk irreversible infertility in males and should not be taken lightly.
Most men going through the disease stages are asymptomatic with symptoms showing after persistent UTIs.
In this article we shall cover the following points:
- What's a UTI?
- Can a UTI cause infertility?
- How to control a UTI
What is UTI?
Urinary tract infections or UTIs are very common infections caused by bacteria (usually E. coli ) present in the skin or urinary tract. 
The bacteria proliferate in the urine and cause the infection of the whole urinary tract. It results in serious infection when the bacteria move up the tract involving the bladder and other organs like the kidney. 
This disease is more common in women but it is has shown detrimental results in men too.
When it develops in males it is considered complicated and the spread to the upper urinary tract and kidneys is fast. 
Some of the issues that put men at risk of getting urinary tract infections are:
- Kidney stones
- Bladder infections
- Urethral stricture (abnormally narrow urethra)
- Enlarged prostate due to BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia)
- Urinary catheterization
The common symptoms experienced by a person suffering from UTI are:
- Urinary incontinency
- Strong urge to urinate persistently
- Cloudy urine with a strong odor
- Sometimes blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Burning sensation while urinating.
- Complicated UTIs may also present the following symptoms indicating that the infection has spread to the kidneys. This requires immediate action and intervention.
Can UTI cause infertility?
The bacteria can spread through the genito-urinary tract causing infertility in some cases. 
The main reproductive structures that get affected are testes, male accessory sex glands, and epididymis, leading to male infertility. 
Urinary tract infection can affect male fertility at many levels. Some of the more understood pathogenesis are:
- It damages the sperm directly through the effect of the pathogens involved in the process. The inflammation due to the infection affects the function and motility of the sperms by exposing them to harmful molecules like reactive oxidative species or ROS.
- Inflammation may also obstruct the male reproductive tract.
- It makes the accessory glands dysfunctional.
- It damages the process of spermatogenesis through the interaction of the pathogens and cells in testes.
- It also gives rise to membrane-bounded, anti-sperm, autoantibodies through hormonal induction.
Male infertility is usually multifactorial and this makes it very difficult to understand the exact cause of the injury to the reproductive system and presents problems in the management of the disease.
What can be done to control UTIs?
Here are some tips to manage the onset and spread of urinary tract infection:
- Drink a lot of water to flush out the toxins from your body. The more fluid you take, it dilutes your urine, and the risk of the bacterial population in the urine causing UTI lessens exponentially.
- Be very vigilant about your hygiene. Avoid using public restrooms and be very conscious about your cleanliness.
- Whenever you have an urge to urinate try not to hold it in. get the toxins out of your body and urinate frequently.
- Wear comfortable underwear and change it regularly.
- Do not use the strong antiseptic product in the area as they disturb the balance of natural flora in your body giving the harmful bacteria chance to strike.
- Take supplements like vitamin c and zinc to counter the production of bacteria in the urine.
- Take your medications vigilantly after the onset of UTI to resolve the issue before it spreads any further.
- Ensure your diet is high in antioxidants
These infections are rare in men (only 3% of men are affected) due to the anatomy of the male urethra. Although the incidence of contracting infection increases with age. 
If you suspect that you might be suffering from UTI, consult your doctor immediately and get evaluated by a professional.
Develop a plan of action and take your treatment seriously as it may result in lifelong sterility.
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