Prostatitis

Prostatitis is inflammation caused by an infection of the prostate. New research indicates that prostatitis is a much broader health problem than was once considered. It is one of the most common urologic diagnoses. There are several forms of Prostatitis:

Acute bacterial prostatitis is the least common of the categories but also the easiest to diagnose and treat. This form of prostatitis leads to a range of very uncomfortable and painful symptoms, including chills, fever, pain in the lower back and genital area, urinary frequency and urgency often at night, burning or painful urination, and body aches. There is also a clear infection of the urinary tract, with white blood cells and bacteria in the urine. Acute bacterial prostatitis is a sudden form, and the potential for septicemia is high.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is another category. This form of prostatitis is associated with an underlying defect in the prostate. Symptoms can be similar to those of acute bacterial prostatitis, and there are also signs of infection. Chronic bacterial prostatitis can result from enlargement of the prostate and the trapping of bacteria in the urethra.

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common but least understood form of prostatitis. It is found in men of any age; symptoms go away and then return without warning. Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome may be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. In the inflammatory form, urine, semen, and other fluids from the prostate show no evidence of a known infecting organism, but they do contain cells the body usually produces to fight infection. In the non-inflammatory form, there is no evidence of inflammation or infection-fighting cells, but there are symptoms. Chronic prostatitis is a major source of urinary tract infections among men.

Aymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is the diagnosis when the patient does not complain of pain or discomfort but has infection-fighting cells in his semen. Doctors usually find this form of prostatitis when looking for causes of infertility or testing for prostate cancer.

How is prostatitis diagnosed?
Since the prostate lies in front of the rectum, your doctor will most likely perform a digital rectal examination (DRE) by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. By doing this, he or she will be able to feel the prostate and determine if it is enlarged or if it has lumps or other abnormalities. The doctor may also check for possible infection or other prostate or urinary tract disorders.

How is prostatitis treated? It depends on the type of prostatitis you have.

Acute infectious prostatitis: Nearly all cases can be cured by using strong antibiotics, often first by IV followed by oral antibiotics, for several weeks. Sometimes an analgesic drug may be given to relieve pain or discomfort. Sometimes, hospitalization is required.

Chronic infectious prostatitis: Approximately 60 % of all cases clear up after using antibiotics for six to eight weeks. For men who are not cured by the medication, long-term, low-dose antimicrobial therapy may be recommended. Surgery often worsens the problem.

Noninfectious prostatitis: Antimicrobial medication is not required. Treatments vary. A muscle relaxer (be aware that it was a muscle relaxing drug that gave me such a fright and prompted my research into prostate health) may be used to reduce the difficulty in urination.

Lifestyle changes (diet, stress management) are in my opinion an essential component of any therapy.