What You Need to Know About Prostatitis

By: Urology Care Foundation | Posted on: 28 Aug 2019

What You Need to Know About Prostatitis

The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system. The prostate's main job is to help make fluid for semen. Semen protects and energizes sperm. Prostatitis is commonly attributed to pain in and around the pelvic area, starting with the prostate. It can happen to men of all ages. It can be from: 

  • An infection caused by bacteria
  • Inflammation (painful, red, swollen tissue) from an injury or infection
  • Some other problem

What are Symptoms of Prostatitis?

How you feel will help your doctor diagnose the type of prostatitis you have. Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/ CPPS) is an inflammation of the prostate and the nerves to this area. Pain from CP/CPPS can last for weeks to months. This is NOT an infection. Symptoms are:

  • Trouble passing urine (sometimes with pain)
  • Pain in and around the bladder, testicles, penis and/or anus
  • Pain with ejaculation

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis is from bacteria and is less common. It is known to come and go over a long period of time; at least three months. Symptoms can be:

  • A burning feeling while passing urine
  • The need to pass urine often (8 or more times per day)
  • Pain in and around the bladder, testicles, penis and/or anus
  • Pain with ejaculation

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis is also from bacteria and is less common. Symptoms for this problem can begin suddenly and can be very painful. Men should get medical care right away. Symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Very painful burning while passing urine
  • Trouble draining the bladder

Nonbacterial Prostatitis may be from stress, nerve irritation, injuries or past urinary tract infections. This form of prostatitis has no signs of bacteria in the urine or semen.

What Causes Prostatitis?

The cause for prostatitis is not always known. Some things can raise the risk of a bacterial infection. For example, an infection from sexual contact, a catheter, a bladder infection or a problem in the urinary tract.
Pelvic pain may not be from prostatitis. Other reasons for pelvic pain:

  • Pelvic floor muscle tension
  • Prostate stones
  • A urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra) or scar tissue
  • Prostate cancer
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) - an enlarged prostate

How Is Prostatitis Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider may start by asking you questions about your pain in order to find out what's wrong. A digital rectal exam (DRE) may be done to feel for an enlargement or check for pain. Your doctor may do a transrectal ultrasound or use a cystoscope to look more closely at your prostate. You may also be asked to get lab tests to look for bacteria in your urine or prostate fluid. A urine flow study or urodynamics test may be done to look for a blockage.

What Are Prostatitis Treatment Options?

Your treatment will depend on the type of Prostatitis you have. You can try one or more until you find something that helps: 

Antibiotics: often used as a first step to kill any bacteria.

Alpha-blockers: help to relax the muscles around the prostate and at the base of the bladder. There are many types of these drugs.

Anti-inflammatory Agents: non-steroidal drugs to reduce pain like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. They also help to relax the muscles.

Prostatic Massage: helps to ease pressure in the prostate. It is done by draining fluid from the prostate ducts while calming nearby muscles.

Biofeedback: a way to learn how to relax certain muscles. It is done with an expert to help you lessen tension in your pelvic floor.

Home Remedies: there are many things that can be done at home to help reduce pain. These include hot baths, hot water bottles, heating pads and a donut-shaped pillow.

Lifestyle Changes: such as weight loss and diet changes, learning to relax, and exercises to ease symptoms. There is no proof that herbs and supplements help prostatitis. Ask your healthcare provider about changes you can make.

Acupuncture: involves placing very thin needles through the skin at different depths and points on your body by a professional to help reduce pain.

Surgery: on either the urethra or prostate may be needed in rare cases. There must be an exact problem, such as scar tissue in the urethra, for prostatitis surgery to work.

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