Prostatitis

Prostatitis is the infection and/or inflammation of the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland located between a male’s bladder and penis. The prostate secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. Prostatitis can afflict males of any age, but is most prevalent among men around 50 years of age and older.

Types and Causes of Prostatitis
Prostatitis is categorized as follows:
 
  • Acute Bacterial Prostatitis – This occurs due to a bacterial infection that develops in the urinary tract and makes its way to the prostate. It can also develop from sexual intercourse or even a prostate examination, for example, having a prostate ultrasound or prostate biopsy
 
  • Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis – Bacterial prostatitis present for 3 months or more is considered chronic bacterial prostatitis. Generally, the cause is bacterial infection, and the condition is not severe. Acute prostatitis can develop into chronic prostatitis due to not taking medications as prescribed, nor as scheduled
 
  • Non-Bacterial Prostatitis – This is inflammation of the prostate without a bacterial infection. Symptoms, however, will be the same; testing shows no bacterial infection. Treatment depends on present symptoms.  
Factors that increase the risk of developing prostatitis include:
  • Urinary tract infection, frequent bladder infections
  • Prior urinary catheterization procedure
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Prior biopsy procedure; prior sample cell or tissue extraction procedure for prostate cancer examination
  • History of enlarged prostate, bladder stones, or urethral stricture
The most common symptoms of acute prostatitis include high fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. Some cases may develop bacteremia, a bacterial infection of the blood.  

Other symptoms, which can occur in both chronic and acute cases, include urination related symptoms due to the prostate being swollen, including pain with urination, slow urine flow, urinary retention, and hematuria (blood in urine).

Additionally, there may be pain during ejaculation or pain in the pelvic floor.
 
Diagnosis of Prostatitis
If you experience symptoms that suggest prostatitis, the doctor may perform these initial tests to come to a diagnosis:
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE), which involves the doctor inserting an index finger into the rectum and pressing on the prostate to see if there is any pain; pain indicates inflammation
  • Urinalysis, which is the analysis of the urine  
  • Prostate massage to help secrete any cultures present into the urinary tract and have the secretions tested, known as a semen analysis
If you experience symptoms that suggest prostatitis, the doctor may perform these initial tests to come to a diagnosis:
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE), which involves the doctor inserting an index finger into the rectum and pressing on the prostate to see if there is any pain; pain indicates inflammation
  • Urinalysis, which is the analysis of the urine  
  • Prostate massage to help secrete any cultures present into the urinary tract and have the secretions tested, known as a semen analysis
Treatment of both acute and chronic prostatitis involves taking antibiotics. The doctor will prescribe the medication based upon the type of infection and symptoms shown. For acute cases, patients will generally need to take antibiotics for 2-4 weeks; for chronic cases, patients will need to take antibiotics for around 12 weeks.
There is a chance of recurrence with prostatitis.
People can help prevent prostatitis by:
  • Not holding in urine when feeling the urge to urinate, as holding increases the chance of exposure to harmful bacteria, leading to urinary tract infections. Drink plenty of water, about 6-8 glasses a day
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Avoiding any risk factors and getting treated for any diseases and illnesses associated with prostatitis
  • Seeing the doctor immediately if any unusual symptoms arise

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