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Prostatitis is an infection or inflammation of the prostate and its surrounding areas, like the pelvis, perineum, and genitals.
This medical condition can be classified into two main categories, acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term). It can also affect males of any sexual maturity level.
If left untreated, prostatitis can cause various health problems such as being unable to urinate and pain. While some symptoms are similar to men with prostate cancer (such as elevated PSA levels), these two conditions are treated differently and would need a separate diagnosis.
Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of a prostate infection.
Types of Prostatitis
The prostate gland is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, somewhere near the base of the penis. This tiny organ is a small, walnut-shaped gland that produces semen.
There are four different categories of prostatitis, each with its own set of symptoms:
Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
Acute prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection similar to the bacteria found in STDs. The bacteria enter the prostate through the urethra (urinary tract) and can cause a slew of urinary tract symptoms.
Acute bacterial prostatitis is considered a medical emergency. It’s also the easiest type to diagnose.
Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
This long-term form of prostatitis is caused by the same STDs as acute bacterial prostatitis, but instead of appearing suddenly, it persists over time.
Symptoms can go under remission for some time and re-emerge later, and it’s often less intense than their acute counterpart. It can affect men of all ages, from young to old.
Also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, this form of prostatitis has no known cause (although some medical experts point to underlying medical issues like a previous infection and nervous system dysfunction as potential causes).
It’s the most common type of prostatitis, and it often affects young to middle-aged men. Symptoms can persist for months or years and wax and wane in intensity.
Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis
This form of prostatitis doesn’t cause any symptoms, but there’s evidence of inflammation in the prostate. It’s often discovered during a prostate biopsy or surgery performed for other medical causes.
Risk Factors of Prostatitis (Prostate Infection)
Men are more at risk of developing acute bacterial prostatitis if they have:
- A UTI
- An enlarged prostate
- A prostate biopsy
- Used a urinary catheter
- Had prostatitis before
- Have HIV or AIDS
A prostatitis infection can also cause sepsis, a serious and life-threatening condition caused by bacteria in the blood.
Bacterial prostatitis is treated with antibiotics, which are given intravenously (through a vein) at first and then switched to oral antibiotics when the patient improves. However, patients may develop a resistance to antibiotic treatment, making it difficult to treat the infection.
Patients with asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis are also at increased risk of developing a lower sperm count than their peers.
Since the condition is associated with infertility, it may make it more difficult for men with asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis to father a child.
Causes of Prostatitis
The most common cause of prostatitis is a bacterial infection from the Enterobacteriaceae family, but other forms of bacteria may also play a role in high-risk areas.
Bacteria can get into the prostate when urine flows backward from the bladder into the urethra and then up through the ejaculatory ducts into the prostate. This condition isn’t usually transmitted from one person to another.
Signs of bacterial infection can be found in prostate fluid, urine tests, and blood tests.
Aside from bacterial infection, prostatitis can also be attributed to stress, nerve inflammation, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP), and injuries.
Symptoms of Prostatitis
The symptoms of prostatitis vary depending on the type of prostatitis. However, all types of prostatitis can cause pain and urinary symptoms.
For the most common type of prostatitis, acute bacterial prostatitis, the symptoms include:
- Chills and high fever
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain in the penis and testicles
- Painful or difficult urination
- Blood in semen
- Cloudy urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Constant urge to pee
Bacterial prostatitis is a life-threatening illness that must be treated as soon as possible. If you suspect you have this disease, contact a men’s specialist to undergo screening.
Treatment of Prostatitis
The best way to prevent prostatitis is to practice good hygiene and urinate often. Engaging in safe sexual practices can also lower the risk of acquiring this disease.
The type of prostatitis you have will determine the treatment you receive. Here are some possible treatment plans for patients with this condition:
Medications like antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common form of treatment for bacterial prostatitis.
For acute cases, antibiotics are prescribed for six to eight and may be given intravenously. For chronic cases, you may require at least six months of antibiotic treatment.
NSAIDs help to relieve pain and inflammation. Drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen may also help reduce pain in the muscles.
Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that has been effective in managing the symptoms of various forms of prostatitis. A study involving the efficacy of acupuncture found that 20 sessions of acupuncture over 8 weeks has helped reduce symptomatic relief in men with moderate to severe chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises (also known as Peyronie’s Disease exercises) help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and bowel. They can also improve blood flow to the area and can also improve erectile function in coordination with a medical treatment approach to erectile dysfunction.
There are several lifestyle changes that can help to ease the symptoms of prostatitis. These include:
- Reducing stress
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol intake
By making these changes, you can help to reduce the inflammation in the prostate and improve your overall health.
Contact Orlando’s Top Men’s Clinic for a Medical Consultation
Prostatitis is a condition that may develop in men of any age. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include pain in the pelvis, testicles, or penis.
If you think you may have prostatitis, don’t hesitate to see a doctor to get treatment.
The medical professionals at Premier Men’s Medical Center in Orlando specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.