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Prostatitis – Prostate Infection

Prostatitis is swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland situated directly below the bladder in men. The prostate gland produces fluid (semen) that nourishes and transports sperm.

Prostatitis can cause urinary problems and issues with sexual performance. It is a common condition that most frequently affects younger adults and middle-aged men.

Symptoms of Prostatitis

Prostatitis often causes painful or difficult urination. Other symptoms include pain in the groin, pelvic area or genitals and sometimes flu-like symptoms.

Depending on the cause, prostatitis can come on gradually or suddenly. It might improve quickly, either on its own or with treatment. Some types of prostatitis last for months or keep recurring (chronic prostatitis). The common signs of prostatitis may include:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Premature ejaculation

Though prostatitis is painful and uncomfortable it is not life threatening nor is it an indicator of prostate cancer.

Causes of Prostatitis

Prostatitis affects men of all ages but tends to be more common in men 50 or younger. The condition has a number of causes. If prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection, it can usually be treated with antibiotics.

Prostatitis is caused by one of three conditions:

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1. Acute Prostatitis is the result of bacterial infection, usually E. coli.
In addition to the standard symptoms, acute prostatitis may also include:

  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Inability to urinate
  • Tender prostate

Patients typically become very ill and should seek medical attention immediately

2. Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis is a low-grade infection or inflammation of the prostate that continues over time.

In addition to the typical symptoms of prostatitis, patients may experience:

  • Low grade fever
  • Urinary tract infections

Patients are not at risk but require a strong regimen of antibiotics.

3. Chronic Pelvic Pain is not a bacterial infection but can present many of the same symptoms.

In addition to the typical symptoms of prostatitis, patients may experience:

  • Spasms in pelvic muscles
  • Inflammation of the prostate

Risk Factors

prostate pain see urologist in montrealRisk factors for prostatitis include:

  • Being a young or middle-aged man.
  • Having had prostatitis previously.
  • Having an infection in the bladder or the tube that transports semen and urine to the penis (urethra).
  • Having pelvic trauma, such as an injury from bicycling or horseback riding.
  • Using a tube inserted into the urethra to drain the bladder (urinary catheter).
  • Having HIV/AIDS.
  • Having had a prostate biopsy.

Prostatitis Treatment

A digital rectal exam will be performed in any instance where prostatitis is suspected. Specific treatments and tests will vary depending on the cause of the problem.

Acute Prostatitis

The condition is diagnosed with by testing urine and blood for bacteria. Treatment can include:

  • Intravenous antibiotics followed by oral antibiotics
  • Catheter to drain bladder if patient is unable to urinate
  • Prescription pain killers
  • Intravenous fluids
  • Possible hospitalization

Chronic Pelvic Pain

The condition is often misdiagnosed but urine tests will show no signs of infection. Inflammation may be present. Symptoms tend to come and go. Treatment can include:

  • Pain killers
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Prostate massage

Potential Complications

Complications of prostatitis can include:

  • Bacterial infection of the blood (bacteremia).
  • Inflammation of the coiled tube attached to the back of the testicle (epididymitis).
  • Pus-filled cavity in the prostate (prostatic abscess).
  • Semen abnormalities and infertility, which can occur with chronic prostatitis.
  • There’s no direct evidence that prostatitis can lead to prostate cancer.

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Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

The condition is diagnosed with a urine test that me include a massage of the prostate to capture fluid from the gland in the urine. Treatment includes:

  • 6-12-week regimen of specific antibiotics which are able to penetrate the prostate

Symptom Management

Patients with chronic prostatitis can try to reduce the impact of their symptoms:

  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Less acidic food or drink
  • Exercise regularly
  • Use of a heating pad or donut cushion
  • Over the counter pain medications

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