Men under age 50 are unlikely to get urinary tract infections. However, 3 percent of men in their 60s and 10 percent of men in their 80s are likely to suffer from a UTI at some point.
The reason why men, and younger men in particular, are far less likely than women to come down with a UTI is that not only is the urethra longer in men than in women, but in men it passes through the penis to open in front, whereas in women the opening is located close to the anus, which exposes it to fecal bacteria that can travel rapidly up into the bladder.
When a man does contract a UTI, it is usually for one of two reasons. First, his immune system may be impaired as result of diseases such as AIDS or immunity-weakening medical treatments such as chemotherapy. Second, something may be preventing his bladder from fully emptying, such as blockage caused by kidney stones or an enlarged prostate. As urine collects in the bladder, the risk of bacterial growth increases.
In both men and women, however, UTI symptoms are the same: an increased urge to urinate accompanied by a burning sensation when urine is passed, abdominal pain (which, if located on one side, may indicate a kidney infection), the presence of blood in the urine, or urine that is cloudy and/or smells bad. The UTI sufferer may have a high fever and, if the kidney is involved, nausea and/or vomiting.