The prostate gland produces a fluid to protect and nourish sperm, and the swelling or inflammation of the prostate gland is prostatitis. This article presents you types, symptoms, causes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and complications of prostatitis.
The swelling (inflammation) of the prostate gland, which is a gland present below the bladder in men, is called prostatitis. It is the size of a walnut, and its main function is to produce semen, which nourishes and transports sperms. When this gland gets swollen, it causes pain during urination, groin pain, pain in the pelvic area and genitals, and flu-like symptoms.
Prostatitis commonly affects men who are 50 years old or younger but can occur at any age. There are various causes that can result in the inflammation of the prostate gland, which includes bacterial infection. The swelling and symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually, which depends on the cause. Some cases of prostatitis improve quickly on their own and some might need treatment.
The main types of prostatitis are:
Chronic prostatitis - This type develops gradually and lasts for months or years. If your symptoms are present for more than 3 months, then it comes under this type. This type does not respond to initial treatment recommendations.
Acute prostatitis - This type develops suddenly and is usually temporary. It lasts from a few days to weeks and responds well to initial treatments.
The other subtypes of prostatitis include:
Acute bacterial prostatitis - It is when a sudden bacterial infection results in the inflammation of the prostate. The symptoms like frequent urination, pain while urination, pelvic and genital pain, fever, chills, and nausea are severe. This condition has to be treated with intravenous antibiotics, pain relievers, and fluids immediately, otherwise, it can lead to sepsis (bacteria spreads to the bloodstream) and death.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis - This is when the prostate gets inflamed due to repeated bacterial urinary tract infections. The symptoms like burning on urinating, frequent urination, and pain are less severe, but they last for a long time. This type of prostatitis is difficult to treat, as it is difficult to identify the causative bacteria in the urine, and patients need a prolonged course of antibiotics.
Chronic pelvic pain syndromeor Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis - It is the most common type, as 90 % of cases of prostatitis are this type. It causes pain in the pelvic region, stomach, and genitals, pain and burning sensation on urination, and erectile dysfunction.
Asymptomatic prostatitis - Here, the prostate is inflamed, but the patient has no symptoms. This type of prostatitis is accidentally diagnosed during a prostate biopsy or semen analysis.
The common symptoms of acute prostatitis are:
Blood in the urine.
Genital or rectal pain.
Increased urge to urinate.
Pain during ejaculation.
Blood in the semen.
Incomplete bladder voiding.
Difficulty initiating a stream of urine.
The common symptoms of chronic prostatitis are:
A need to empty the bladder several times at night.
Pain while urinating.
Pain after sex.
Frequent urge to urinate.
Lower back, rectum, and genital pain.
Pain during ejaculation.
Acute prostatitis is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection. When urine leaks into the prostate, it results in such infection. If bacteria become resistant to antibiotics or if the antibiotic course is not completed, the infection recurs and becomes difficult to treat, resulting in chronic bacterial prostatitis. Nonbacterial prostatitis can result from nerve damage from surgery or trauma to the prostate.
Men who are younger than 50 years.
History of prostatitis.
Immunocompromised conditions (HIV or AIDS).
Getting a prostate biopsy.
Infection of the bladder or urethra (the tube that transports semen and urine).
Pelvic injury (horseback riding or cycling).
Your doctor will diagnose this condition after ruling out other conditions that cause similar symptoms. After getting a complete medical and family history, the doctor will conduct a digital rectal examination. Then he or she might suggest you get the following tests done:
Urinalysis - Your urine sample is checked for signs of infection. And they try to find the causative bacteria or organism in the urine, which is responsible for the infection through urine culture.
Blood tests - To check for any other infection.
Post-prostatic massage - Here, the prostate is massaged and the secretions are tested.
Ultrasound - To visualize the prostate and bladder.
CT scan - To get a detailed image of your urinary tract system.
The treatment options include:
Antibiotics - As most prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are most commonly prescribed. Depending on the results of urine culture, the doctor will choose the right antibiotic. In cases of severe infection, antibiotics need to be administered intravenously. For acute prostatitis, antibiotics are usually prescribed for four to six weeks, but in chronic prostatitis, it might be longer.
Alpha-blockers - These drugs are used to relax the bladder neck and muscles where the prostate joins the bladder. This helps in relieving symptoms such as painful urination.
Anti-inflammatory drugs - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed.
Sitz bath - Sit in a warm water bath or use a heating pad.
Avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
Avoid prolonged sitting or cycling.
Drink a lot of water.
Avoid eating spicy and acidic foods.
Do not drink caffeinated beverages like coffee.
The possible complications of prostatitis are:
Epididymitis - Inflammation of a coiled tube in the testis.
Prostatic abscess - Pus-filled abscess can form in the prostate.
Sepsis - Bacteria can spread to the bloodstream.
The severity and symptoms of chronic prostatitis vary in different men. To reduce pain and discomfort, take your medicines exactly as prescribed by your doctor. With proper medication and care, most men with chronic prostatitis lead a normal life. It does not affect your sexual life, as it is not contagious. And there is no evidence to suggest that prostatitis increases the risk of prostate cancer or kidney disease. Go for regular prostate examinations even after your symptoms get better.
For more information on prostatitis, consult a doctor now.
Last reviewed at:
06 Dec 2019 - 5 min read
Query: Hello doctor, I am having a discomfort and mild pain during ejaculation. I was diagnosed as having chronic prostatitis with seminal vesiculitis, and I was put on Quinolones for three months and an alpha-blocker (Alfuzosin) for five months. The urinary symptoms completely resolved, but discomfort and... Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, I am a 30-year-old married man and this is my story. Three months back testicle pain and difficulty reaching ejaculation for a few days. Also, a mild pain near the rectum or anus for a few days. A month later received unprotected oral sex from a woman. The very next month started to f... Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, I am a 50-year-old male. I am suffering from prostatitis and have following complaints like weak urine flow (4.8 ml/sec average flow and 8.8 maximum flow), dribbling at the end of passing urine, mild pain in testes, and frequent urination (four to five times a day and none at night). ... Read Full »
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