What is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland (part of the male reproductive system).
Prostatitis may be the result of a bacterial infection that has spread from the urethra (tube by which urine is excreted from the bladder).
It can be caused by a sexually transmitted disease (gonorrhea, chlamydia). Prostatitis can also occur following anal intercourse or can be the result of tuberculosis that has spread through the bloodstream.
Prostatitis frequently affects elderly men with enlarged prostates, or individuals having a bladder catheter. In most cases, however, the cause of prostatitis may be uncertain. Prostatitis usually affects men between the ages of 30 and 50. Acute episodes have a sudden, rapid onset. Chronic prostatitis appears gradually and is more common.
How is it diagnosed?
History: Symptoms include pain when passing urine, frequent urination, and dull pain in the lower abdomen, back, and rectum. There may be a discharge from the penis. If prostatitis is severe, there may also be fever and chills, vomiting, and blood in the urine.
Physical exam reveals an enlarged, tender prostate gland.
Tests: A culture is done of prostatic secretions, obtained after massaging the prostate gland. A urinalysis and urine culture will also be done to identify the infectious agent.
How is Prostatitis treated?
Antibiotics are used, as well as pain-relievers, stool softeners, and sitting in a warm bath. If caused by a sexually transmitted disease all sexual partners need to be tested and treated as well. Chronic prostatitis may require ongoing antibiotic therapy because few drugs appear to penetrate the prostate tissue effectively. Prostatic massage may promote drainage and aid healing.
Rest in bed until fever and pain subside. Then resume your normal activities gradually. The ability to be sexually active during acute prostatitis depends on the degree of disability.
What might complicate it?
Prostatitis is difficult to treat. It is slow to clear up and often recurs.
Other causes of an enlarged prostate are benign prostatic hypertrophy and cancer of the prostate.
Notify your physician if
- You or a family member has symptoms of prostatitis.
- Symptoms worsen or you have fever during treatment.
- Symptoms don't improve after 3 days of treatment.
- Symptoms recur after treatment.
Last updated 6 April 2018