Prostatitis refers to inflammation of the prostate and sometimes the area around it.
There are different types of prostatitis, and each has a range of symptoms. Some men with the disease can experience severe pain and discomfort, while others will not. The others will fall somewhere between the two.
The direct causes of prostatitis are not fully understood. Some cases of prostatitis are due to acute and chronic bacterial infections. These infections get into the prostate from the urethra by backward flow of infected urine into the prostate ducts. Bacterial prostatitis is not contagious and is not a sexually transmitted disease.
Prostate infections occur most often in men between 30-50 years old, but can also affect older men. These infections usually irritate the prostate and cause inflammation and swelling of the gland. Prostate infections do not always lead to prostatitis.
Some conditions or medical procedures increase the risk of contracting bacterial prostatitis. The risk for infection is higher if a man has recently had a catheter or other instrument inserted through the urethra, had an abnormality of his urinary tract or a recent bladder infection.
These symptoms can be due to a bacterial infection in the prostate gland, but not always. Again, some men may experience a wide range of signs and symptoms, while some men have no symptoms at all.
- Difficult or painful urination
- Strong, frequent urges to urinate, even when there is not much urine to be passed
- Chills and high fever
- Low back pain or body aches
- Pain low in the belly, groin, or behind the scrotum
- Rectal pressure or pain
- Urethral discharge with bowel movements
- Genital and rectal throbbing
- Sexual problems and loss of sex drive
A diagnosis of prostatitis would come from your doctor. After gathering your prostate health history, your doctor will likely perform a physical examination which focuses on the scrotum, looking for inflammation of the testicles and surrounding areas. If the doctor performs a rectal examination, your prostate may be swollen, which may indicate an acute inflammation.
The most important laboratory test is a urinalysis to help differentiate the types of prostatitis. Lab testing may include urinalysis, looking for white blood cells and bacteria, which would indicate infection. The urine may also be cultured to identify the bacteria that are responsible for any infection, but results will take up to a week. The results will help confirm that the antibiotic chosen is correct for that particular bacteria and may help choose an alternate antibiotic should the illness progress.
The various prostatitis symptoms, such as prostate inflammation and prostate infections are very similar to other prostate problems and may also be associated with other medical conditions. It is urgent that you report any urinary or prostate symptoms to your doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Delaying treatment may result in serious complications.
A prostatitis treatment often includes many weeks of antibiotics and other measures used to treat and control the symptoms associated with an inflamed prostate and prostate infection.
There is no single way to avoid prostatitis, but a healthy diet and hydration are good places to start.
Properly hydrating your body helps your immune system work at its best, so you may be less likely to contract infections, such as prostatitis. Your cells require enough water to allow enzymes to move in and out of them through the cell membranes easily. If these enzymes cannot move about freely, the result may be a large number of problems throughout all the body’s systems.
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