Prostatitis is simply the inflammation of the prostate — a small gland that’s the size of a walnut and is responsible for the production of the milky prostatic fluid, one of the important components of semen. According to the experts, around 10 to 12 percent of all men go through the symptoms of this condition. There are a handful of problems concerning the prostate gland, and prostatitis is one of the most commonly encountered by men below 50 years of age.
The condition may be brought about by bacterial infection. In this case, the administration of antibiotics is performed to treat the problem. However, it’s possible for prostatitis to be caused by other factors aside from invading bacteria. There are instances, too, wherein doctors may fail to pinpoint the exact cause.
Prostatitis may appear gradually or all of a sudden, depending on the causative factor. It is possible for the condition to resolve quickly with proper treatment, or sometimes completely on its own. There are certain types of prostatitis which stay around for several months or keep on showing up, something which is referred to as chronic prostatitis.
Prostatitis comes in different types, primarily based on the cause. They are the following:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis – Even though this is the least common type of the condition, it’s the one with the most severe symptoms. Since it is brought about by bacterial infection, someone who is suffering from it may also experience vomiting, nausea, fever and chills. Prompt medical treatment is warranted to keep the infection from spreading and causing many other complications like bladder infection or blockage of urine flow.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis – This type of the condition is brought about by frequently occurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) whose bacterial cause has affected the prostate gland too. Often, diagnosing it can be a challenge for the doctors. A male may already be suffering from it for a long time before symptoms show up. The symptoms are almost the same as those of acute bacterial prostatitis, although they are usually less in severity.
- Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome – It’s true that this is the most common form of prostatitis. However, it’s also the least understood by the medical community. This particular condition can either be inflammatory or non-inflammatory in nature, depending on the presence or absence of white blood cells in the urine, prostatic fluid or semen. The symptoms may show up and disappear on their own, or they may stay around for a long time. It’s not uncommon for doctors to fail to identify the cause.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis – Just like what the name says, the person suffering from this type of prostatitis experiences no symptom at all. Usually, the condition is accidentally diagnosed during infertility or prostate cancer checkups, in particular upon the detection of white blood cells in the urine, prostatic fluid or semen.
The symptoms of prostatitis vary depending on what’s causing it. Here are some of the things experienced by someone with the condition:
- Dysuria – Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Nocturia – Frequent urination most especially at night
- Difficulty in urinating
- Pain in the penis, scrotum, rectum, groin, abdomen or lower back
- Painful ejaculations or orgasms
- Flu-like symptoms
Especially if prostatitis is brought about by bacterial infection, prompt treatment is warranted. Otherwise, there are certain complications that may arise such as:
- Bacteremia – Bacterial infection of the blood
- Epididymitis – Inflammation of the convoluted tube called the epididymis that serves as the passageway of sperm from the testicles to the vas deferens
- Prostatic abscess – Development of cavities in the prostate gland that are pus-filled
- Infertility and abnormalities with the semen – Usually due to chronic prostatitis
To get rid of prostatitis, the underlying cause has to be treated. There are different medical treatments for prostatitis, and they include:
- Antibiotics – These drugs are administered to kill off the bacteria causing the condition. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS – They are prescribed to help lessen the inflammation of the prostate, thus providing relief from pain or discomfort.
- Alpha blockers – These drugs are given to promote the relaxation of the muscles where the prostate gland joins the urinary bladder. The administration of alpha blockers helps in lessening some of the symptoms such as painful urination.
- Prostate massage – Similar to a digital rectal exam, this is performed by a doctor to empty the contents of the prostate gland.