Prostatitis is one of several benign (noncancerous), inflammatory conditions of the prostate gland. Acute prostatitis occurs suddenly with sharp, severe symptoms. Chronic prostatitis develops gradually and recurs often with the infection and lasts for prolonged periods. Chronic prostatitis is typically difficult to treat.
Prostatitis and other prostate problems are generally treated by a urologist, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of conditions involving the urinary tract in both genders.
The following are the classifications of prostatitis:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis - Although the least common of all types of prostatitis, acute bacterial prostatitis occurs in men at any age and often with sudden onset and severe symptoms. It is important to seek treatment promptly as this condition is easy to diagnose. Men may find urination difficult and extremely painful. Other symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis include fever, chills, lower back pain, pain in the genital area, burning during urination, a sudden urgent need to urinate at night and aches and pains throughout the body.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis - Although fairly uncommon, chronic bacterial prostatitis is a recurrent infection of the prostate gland that is difficult to treat. Symptoms of the infection are often similar to acute bacterial prostatitis but less intense and generally do last longer.
- Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome - Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the least understood form of prostatitis, but the most common form of the disease. Symptoms may resolve and then reappear without warning. The condition may be considered inflammatory, in which urine, semen and other secretions do not have show signs of infection but do contain infection-fighting cells.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis - Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis may be diagnosed when infection-fighting cells are present without the common symptoms of prostatitis, such as difficulty with urination, fever, and lower back and pelvic pain. A diagnosis of asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is made most often during an examination for other conditions, such as infertility or prostate cancer.
Prostatitis is an infection that likely occurs due to bacteria that have entered the prostatic ducts from the rectum and/or as a result of a backward flow of infected urine.
Prostatitis is not a contagious condition and is not considered a sexually transmitted disease. It can result, however, from several different sexually transmitted diseases.
Although any man can develop prostatitis at any age, there are conditions that increase risks for developing this condition including:
- Recent bladder, urinary tract or other infection elsewhere in the body
- Injury or trauma to the perineum (the area between the scrotum and the anus)
- Abnormal urinary tract anatomy
- Enlarged prostate
- Rectal intercourse
- Recent procedure involving the insertion of a urinary catheter or cystoscope
The following are the most common, general symptoms of prostatitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Urinary frequency and/or urgency
- Burning or stinging sensation during urination
- Painful urination
- Reduced stream volume during urination
- Rectal pain and/or pressure
- Fever and chills (usually present with an acute infection only)
- Lower back and/or pelvic pain
- Discharge through the urethra during bowel movements
- Sexual dysfunction and/or loss of libido (sex drive)
- Throbbing sensations in the rectal and/or genital area
The symptoms of prostatitis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
The most effective treatment for prostatitis depends heavily on an accurate diagnosis. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for prostatitis may include:
- Urine culture, including triple-void urine specimen collection, also called the three-glass urine collection method, is used in collaboration with the prostate stripping procedure. The three-glass urine collection method involves collecting and evaluating the prostatic fluid and urine for the presence of white blood cells and bacteria.
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) is a procedure in which the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the prostate gland.
- Semen culture
- Prostate massage is a procedure in which prostate fluid is collected for examination. This procedure is usually performed during a DRE and involves the doctor "stripping" the prostate gland to drain fluid into the urethra. This fluid is then examined under a microscope to detect the presence of inflammation and/or infection.
- Cystoscopy (also called cystourethroscopy) is an examination in which a scope, a flexible tube and viewing device, is inserted through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for structural abnormalities or obstructions, such as tumors or stones.
- Acute bacterial prostatitis. Treatment of acute bacterial prostatitis usually involves taking antimicrobial medication for several days.. Treatment is usually effective for this type of prostatic infection, but involves taking the full course of medication to prevent the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria even when symptoms are absent. Analgesic (pain-relieving) medications may also be prescribed as needed and patients may be advised to increase fluid intake. Hospitalization may be necessary in the most severe cases.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis. Treatment of chronic bacterial prostatitis usually involves antimicrobial medication for 4 to 6 weeks. This type of prostatitis is difficult to treat and recurrence is possible. If the infection does not respond to the antimicrobial medication, then long-term, low dose antimicrobial medication may be prescribed. Surgery may become necessary.
Always consult your doctor for more information regarding the treatment of prostatitis.