Prostatitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Overview

Prostatitis is swelling and inflammation of
the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland situated directly below the bladder in
men. The prostate gland produces fluid (semen) that nourishes and transports
sperm.

Prostatitis encompasses a spectrum of clinical diseases. The most common type of disease is recurrent dysuria with irritative and obstructive urinary symptoms without bacterial infection.

Men of all ages may get infected with prostatitis, but it is more commonly found in men of fifty years old and below. Prostatitis leads to approximately 2 million doctor’s visits each year in the United States. Half of all men will experience prostatitis during their lifetime.

Causes

There are many different causes of prostatitis. We can divide up the myriad causes into two categories:

Bacterial prostatitis causes

They are related to bacterial
infections.  

  • About 80% of acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis infections are caused by gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Proteus mirabilis.
  • The other 20% of bacterial prostatitis causes involve sexually transmitted diseases.

Nonbacterial causes

These causes, which are usually associated with chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), make up 90 to 95% of all prostatitis cases.

  • A patient’s lifestyle

A person’s sexual habits can contribute to causes of this disorder, as well as his/her diet, allergies, immune disorders, and environmental factors.

  • Medical problems

Complications from past surgeries or injuries can all contribute to
chronic prostatitis causes.

  • Changes in the DNA of a normal prostate cell

Cancer can be caused in part by DNA changes that are either inherited
from a parent or acquired during a person’s lifetime.

Inflammation in the prostate, exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals can cause DNA mutations in many organs, but these factors have not been proven to be important causes of mutations in prostate cells yet.

Symptoms

Prostatitis can cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on its severity and occurrence.

Acute bacterial prostatitis:

  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Urgency to pass urine
  • Pain with urination
  • Difficulty of producing a normal stream
  • Pain in the genital area
  • Pain with ejaculation

Generalized symptoms that may occur and should be investigated by a caregiver immediately include:

  • High fever and chills
  • Generalized malaise
  • Fatigue

Chronic bacterial prostatitis:

It is defined by NIH as recurrent infection of the prostate. This disease is a common cause of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in men.

Symptoms of chronic bacterial prostatitis include:

  • Increased urinary frequency along with pain and difficulty urinating
  • Pain in the lower back, testes, epididymis, or penis
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Low-grade fever, joint pains, and muscle aches
  • Stress and depression

Nonbacterial prostatitis:

  • Urinary difficulty
  • Urinary frequency
  • blood in semen
  • pain with urination, bowel movement, and ejaculation
  • sexual dysfunction
  • genital pain after urination

Diagnosis

Chronic bacterial prostatitisInitial diagnostic methods are listed as follows:

  • An inquiry asking questions about your medical history.
  • A physical examination, a digital rectal examination (DRE), in particular.
  • A sample of the fluid from your urethra for laboratory testing.

Your doctor may also conduct some additional tests, such as:

  • a blood culture to rule out bacteria in your blood
  • a urinalysis or a urine culture to test your urine for blood, white cells, or bacteria
  • a urethral swab to test for gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • urodynamic tests to learn if you have problems emptying your bladder
  • a cystoscopy to examine the inside of your urethra and bladder for signs of infection
  • a CT scan of your urinary tract and prostate or a sonogram of your prostate

Treatment

There are a number of treatment options that
usually provide relief. They can include:

Antibiotics

This is the most commonly prescribed treatment for prostatitis. Your
doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics for four to six weeks to treat acute
bacterial prostatitis.

Alpha blockers

Examples include:

Anti-inflammatory
agents

Nonsteroidal anti-infammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might make you more comfortable.

Life style and home remedies

Your doctor may encourage you to:

  • avoid bicycling or wear padded shorts to
    decrease pressure on your prostate
  • avoid alcohol, caffeine, and foods that
    are spicy and acidic
  • sit on a pillow or donut cushion
  • take warm baths
  • Alternative medicine

Promising alternative therapies of prostatitis include:

Biofeedback

A biofeedback
specialist uses signals from monitoring equipment to teach you to control
certain body functions and responses.

Acupuncture

This involves
inserting very thin needles through your skin to various depths at certain
points on your body.

Herbal remedies and supplements

Some herbal
treatments for prostatitis include:

  • rye grass (cernilton)
  • a chemical found in green tea, onions and other plants (quercetin)
  • extract of the saw palmetto plant.

Keywords: prostatitis.

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