What is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland that can cause painful urination or ejaculation. The prostate gland is located near the bladder in men and is responsible for producing semen, the substance that carries sperm.
There are several types of Prostatitis:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis: a sudden onset of prostatitis caused by bacterial infection.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis: continued onsets of prostatitis caused by antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
- Chronic prostatitis: an ongoing type of prostatitis caused by factors other than infection.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis: which does not cause symptoms and is usually discovered as a byproduct of diagnosing other medical conditions.
Symptoms of Prostatitis vary depending on the cause, but most often include:
- Painful urination
- Increased Urinary Frequency, particularly at night (nocturia)
- Increased Urinary Urgency
- Inability, or perceived inability, to fully empty bladder (urinary retention)
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Pain in the abdomen, groin, or lower back
- Painful ejaculation
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting (when infection is present)
Secondary complications resulting from Prostatitis may include the following:
- Bacteremia, a bacterial infection of the blood
- Epididymitis, an inflammation of the tube that carries sperm in the testicle
- A prostatic abscess, a pus-filled cavity in the prostate
- Semen abnormalities and infertility
Causes of Prostatitis vary depending on type. Bacterial infections caused by exposure to common bacteria in urine is often the cause of acute bacterial prostatitis. In these cases, antibiotics are used to treat the infection, and the prostatitis disappears as the bacteria are destroyed.
In rare cases, the antibiotics do not destroy all of the bacteria and prostatitis may redevelop and become chronic. If diagnosed with bacterial prostatitis, it is important to take all antibiotics as directed to avoid further complications.
In cases where a bacterial infection is not present, the cause of prostatitis is more difficult to identify. Often, it is the result of nerve damage in the lower urinary tract, commonly as a result of surgery or traumatic injury.
Risk factors include:
- Being under the age of 50 (prostatitis is more common in younger men)
- A history of prostatitis
- A history of bladder or urethra infections
- A history of catheter use
- Traumatic injury to the pelvic region
- HIV/AIDS positive status
- Prior biopsy of the prostate
To diagnosis Prostatitis, the physician will begin by ruling out other problems. First, the physician will conduct a physical exam, which may include a digital rectal examination. Next, the physician may order a urinalysis or blood test to identify possible infection.
If problems persist, your doctor may order a CT scan of your urinary tract or an ultrasound of your prostate to further examine the organs and surrounding tissues.
Treatments for Prostatitis vary depending on the cause. Patients with Bacterial Prostatitis will be prescribed antibiotics, to destroy the bacteria causing the Prostatitis. In some severe cases, patients may need intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
In other cases of Prostatitis, the following treatments are recommended:
- Alpha blockers, which relax the muscles that connect the bladder and the prostate, which may relieve pain and discomfort.
- Over-the-counter Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which may relieve pain and discomfort.
- Lifestyle modifications
- Dietary changes: avoid food and beverages that may irritate your bladder, such as carbonated beverages, alcohol, caffeine, and spicy or acidic foods. Increased water intake may dilute irritants in the urine.
- Less sedentary lifestyle habits: avoid sitting for long periods of time and reduce pressure on the prostate and pelvic region.
- Use of warm baths or heating pads: to relieve pain and pressure.
- Physical therapy: to strengthen and stretch pelvic floor muscles