Diseases & Conditions

 

Prostatitis

Diseases & Conditions

 

What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland and sometimes the areas around it. The prostate is a small but important gland in the male reproductive system, responsible for making fluid that protects and feeds sperm. Prostatitis is the term used when the prostate is infected, feels sore and irritated.1

 

What causes prostatitis?

The causes of prostatitis differ depending on the type:

  • Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis:

Acute bacterial prostatitis is often caused by common strains of bacteria that may occur when it travels from the urethra into the prostate. Acute prostatitis happens suddenly and lasts a short time, while the chronic type develops slowly and last longer, often years.

  • Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome:

The exact cause of this type is not clear. Scientists believe a microorganism, not bacteria, may cause the infection. This type of prostatitis may relate to chemicals in the urine, the immune system’s response to a previous urinary tract infection, or nerve damage in the pelvic area.2

 

What are the symptoms of prostatitis?

Symptoms of prostatitis vary depending on the cause and they can include: 3

  • Pain or discomfort between the scrotum and anus, the central lower abdomen, the penis, the scrotum, and the lower back
  • Pain during or after ejaculation
  • Pain in the urethra during or after urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to delay urination
  • Difficulty urinating, such as dribbling or hesitant urination
  • Fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and body aches in acute bacterial prostatitis

Prostatitis can develop complications such as a bacterial infection of the bloodstream, sexual dysfunction and inflammation of the reproductive organs near the prostate

 

How is prostatitis diagnosed?

A urologist can diagnose prostatitis based on:4

  • A personal and family medical history
  • A physical examination:
    • checking the discharge from the urethra
    • checking if the scrotum in swollen and tender
    • performing a digital rectal exam when the doctor slide his finger into the rectum to feel the prostate
  • Medical tests:
    • Urinalysis to diagnose the bacterial forms of the prostatitis
    • Blood tests that can show signs of infection and other prostate problems
    • Urodynamic tests to see how well the bladder and urethra store and release urine
    • Cystoscopy to look inside the urethra and bladder
    • Transrectal ultrasound to generate an image showing any prostate abnormality
    • Biopsy to examine a small piece of prostate tissue
    • Semen analysis to test and measure the amount and quality of semen

 

How is prostatitis treated?

Treatment for prostatitis usually aims to decrease pain, discomfort, and inflammation.

A urologist may treat prostatitis with painkillers and a two- to four-week course of antibiotics. Other medications could be prescribed such as alpha-blockers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen) to relieve the pain and alpha-blockers to help relax the muscles in the prostate and the base of the bladder.1

Alternative treatment may include warm baths, local heat therapy, physical therapy, relaxation exercises and acupuncture.

 

How can prostatitis be prevented?

Scientists have found that eating, diet and nutrition may prevent prostatitis. During the treatment of bacterial prostatitis, it is recommended to drink plenty of water or other soft drinks (six to eight glasses a day) such as squash or fruit juice. Avoid alcohol, fizzy drinks and drinks containing caffeine, such as tea and coffee, citrus fruits such as oranges, and spicy foods as they can irritate the bladder and make urinary symptoms worse. .5

Other preventive methods include:

  • Sit comfortably
  • Get active
  • Do pelvic floor muscle exercises

 

References:

  1. Prostatitis (Prostatitis) http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Prostatitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx   (Accessed December 22, 2015)
  2. Prostatitis: Inflammation of the Prostate (Prostatitis: Inflammation of the Prostate) http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/prostatitis-disorders-of-the-prostate/Pages/facts.aspx (Accessed December 22, 2015)
  3. Prostatitis (Symptoms) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostatitis/basics/symptoms/con-20020916 (Accessed December 22, 2015)
  4. Nickel, J. Curtis. "Prostatitis." Canadian Urological Association, 2011. Web. https://www.cua.org/themes/web/assets/files/guidelines/en/1121__1_.pdf (Accessed December 22, 2015)
  5. "Prostatitis A Guide to Infection or Inflammation of the Prostate." Prostatecanceruk. Web. <http://prostatecanceruk.org/media/2492038/prostatitis-ifm.pdf>. (Accessed December 22, 2015)