Prostatitis is a condition that affects the prostate gland, the walnut-shaped organ that lies just below a man's bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube through which urine passes). The prostate gland produces most of the fluid in semen.
Prostatitis is sometimes an infection of the prostate, but it can also be an inflammation (swelling) with no sign of infection.
Prostatitis can affect men of all ages. Nearly half of all men have prostatitis-like symptoms at some point during their lifetime.
Types of prostatitis include the following:
Acute bacterial prostatitis must be treated right away, as the condition can lead to sepsis (bacteria in the blood). If it is not treated, the condition can cause confusion and low blood pressure, and may be fatal. Acute bacterial prostatitis is usually treated in the hospital with intravenous antibiotics, pain relievers, and fluids.
This completely depends on what type of prostatitis it is. Bacterial infection usually enters from the urinary tract. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome may come from an initial infection or injury or from clenching and spasm of the pelvic floor muscles.
You may have no symptoms or symptoms so sudden and severe that you seek emergency medical care.
Symptoms of prostatitis include:
In addition, the prostate may swell, causing a less powerful urine stream.
If your doctor thinks that you have prostatitis or another prostate problem, he or she may refer you to a urologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system) to confirm the diagnosis.
Patients usually have a full examination. The examination will include a digital rectal exam, in which the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate.
At the first appointment, the patient should have a full bladder and should not be on any antibiotics. The patient will urinate into a machine to measure urine flow, and will also have an ultrasound of the bladder to see how it is emptying. Cultures are obtained from urine and from prostatic fluid obtained during a rectal exam.
Treatment depends on the type of prostatitis.
Treatments include the following:
Other treatments for chronic noninfectious prostatitis include the drugs finasteride (Proscar®, terazosin®), and doxazosin. These drugs relax the muscles of the prostate and bladder to improve urine flow and decrease symptoms.
Many cases of nonbacterial prostatitis respond to such treatments as exercise, myofascial trigger point release physical therapy, progressive relaxation, and counseling.
Prostatitis is a treatable condition. Even if the problem cannot be cured, you can usually get relief from your symptoms by following the recommended treatment. If you are taking a medication prescribed by your doctor, it is important to follow the full course of the prescription, even if you no longer have any symptoms. With infectious prostatitis, for example, the symptoms may disappear before the infection has completely cleared.
Chronic prostatitis affects men differently, so discomfort or pain varies.
Prostatitis is not a contagious disease. You can live your life normally and continue sexual relations without passing it on.
Having prostatitis does not increase your risk of developing prostate cancer or any other prostate or kidney disease. But even if your prostatitis is cured, you should continue to have regular examinations to detect prostate cancer.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 10/25/2016