Prostatitis is an inflammation, or an infection, of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is an organ approximately the size and shape of a walnut. It is located just below the bladder and wraps around the urethra in males. Is responsible for producing semen, which is the fluid that helps to nourish and transport sperm.
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland that will cause a variety of symptoms. It has been classified by the National Institute of Health into four different categories. Category one describes an acute bacterial prostatitis, category two describes chronic bacterial prostatitis, category three includes conditions that were previously known as nonbacterial prostatitis and category four is an asymptomatic inflammation of the prostate.
Physicians seek to determine which category an individual is suffering in order to be able to appropriately recommend treatment protocols that will effectively treat the condition.
Men who suffer from prostatitis in category one may suffer from fever and chills and flulike symptoms. They can experience pain in the prostate gland and urinary problems such as difficulty or pain with urination, inability to completely empty the bladder and blood tinged urine. Prostatitis will also cause painful ejaculations. This can be a serious medical condition and requires immediate treatment.
Bacteria which is normally found in a large intestines can typically cause acute prostatitis. Most commonly, the infection can spread from a bladder or urethral infection.
The signs and symptoms of category two prostatitis develop more slowly. There are will be times when the symptoms are better and tend to alternate with periods of worse symptoms. Men may experience frequent an urgent need to urinate, painful or burning sensation when urinating, pain in the pelvic area and excessive urination during the night. They may also experience pain in the lower back, painful ejaculation, slight fever and recurring bladder infections.
It is not yet clear what causes a chronic bacterial infection in the prostate gland. Some theorize that catheter tubes used to drain the urinary bladder may injure the system or infections and other parts of the body can be the source of the bacteria.
The primary source of treatment for both category one and category two prostatitis is antibiotics to cure the infection. In some instances individuals may require hospitalization for a few days to receive the antibiotics intravenously. There has been some attempt to use antibiotics for chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, however, there is no strong evidence that it is useful or effective in category three prostatitis.
How long an individual will take the antibiotics will depend upon how well they respond to the drug. Category one prostatitis individuals may require a few weeks of antibiotic therapy while individuals who suffer from category two may take longer to treat. Antibiotics can be given for as long as 12 weeks and in some cases the infection may never be eliminated. In this case individuals may need to take low-dose antibiotic therapy indefinitely.
Category three prostatitis symptoms are similar to those of chronic bacterial prostatitis, category two. Individuals who experience category three however, probably won’t experience a fever. The only way to determine whether symptoms are caused by bacterial or nonbacterial irritation is through lab testing to find out if bacteria is present in the urine for prostate gland fluid.
Category 4 prostatitis has no symptoms and is usually found during a physical examination. Generally, unless there is an underlying medical condition which necessitates further evaluation, category four prostatitis does not require treatment.
Individuals who are having difficulty urinating may be prescribed powerful blockers, an oral medication that helps to relax the bladder neck. This can help you urinate more easily and empty the bladder completely. Over-the-counter medications for pain relief may be prescribed. But, taking too much of these medications can also cause serious side effects.
In some instances physical therapy may be prescribed in order to reduce the irritation related to tight muscles. Physical therapists will prescribe exercises, biofeedback and prostate massage to assist in unplugging the small dogs blocked by the inflammation. Prostate massage is used less commonly today than it once was.
In more severe cases, surgical removal of the infected part may be recommended if other treatments don’t work. However, positive response from a major procedure for this type of prostatitis is quite low and many doctors are hesitant to recommend or perform surgery for this reason.
Urology Care Foundation: Prostatitis
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Prostatitis Disorders of the Prostate
Journal of the American Medical Association: Prostatitis
University of maryland Medical Center: Prostatitis