Prostatitis –Causes, Diagnosis and its Treatment
The inflammation or painful swelling of the prostate gland is called Prostatitis. There are many things that can cause the inflammation, one of which is infection. At least 10 percent of all males have Prostatitis at least once in their lives. The prevalence of prostatitis can be put into perspective by considering the fact that about 25% of visits made to physicians by young and middle-aged men regarding genitourinary problems are concerning prostatitis.
The prostate gland is located beneath the bladder of a male, and is responsible for producing part of the fluid for semen. The walnut-sized gland surrounds the urethra (a tube that carries urine out of the body) and grows in size with age.
There are many kinds of prostatitis, and each one has a different treatment procedure-
1) Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis- This condition is usually diagnosed incidentally when a doctor is looking for causes of infertility or while testing for prostate cancer. It is hard to be detected otherwise since the patient is unable to feel any discomfort or pain that could lead him to believe that he might have the condition.
2) Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis- It is characterized by recurrent bacterial infections in the prostate gland. Since the symptoms are not considerably major, or are completely absent, the patient might ignore the condition completely. Unfortunately, even if diagnosed it can be quite difficult to treat the problem.
3) Acute Bacterial Prostatitis- This condition gives rise to flu-like symptoms and is generally sudden in nature. Caused by a bacterial infection acute bacterial prostatitis is least common of all four types of prostatitis.
4) Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome- This is the most common form of prostatitis, but is often mistaken for other medical problems. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome can be further categorized as noninflammatory or inflammatory, depending upon the absence or presence of infection-fighting cells in the semen, urine and the prostatic fluid.
General symptoms of prostatitis include-
- Pain in the tip of the penis.
- Burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urge to urinate, even though most times only small amounts of urine passes
- Nocturia, or excessive urination during nights
- Discomfort or pain during or after ejaculation
- Inability in complete emptying of the bladder
- Discomfort or pain in the area between anus and the testicles, upper thighs or lower abdomen, lower back, and the pubic area. Increase of pain during bowel movements.
- Difficulty during urination, which includes slower urine flow, interrupted flow (urinating in small waves instead of a smooth stream), and delay in the starting.
- Blood in the urine
It is vital that a correct diagnosis is made because the treatment for each kind of prostatitis is different. It is also important to ensure that the symptoms are rightly of prostatitis and that it is not mistaken for other conditions such as enlarged prostate, cystitis, urethritis, etc. which also have similar symptoms.
One of the most common tools doctors use to diagnose prostatitis is the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index. In this index are several questions regarding prostatitis symptoms and how are they affecting the patient.
Answering the questions and sharing the results with the doctor can help him understand the condition better and form a better diagnosis report.
The doctor would also want to examine the patient physically. By looking at the ligaments and muscles near the pelvic area the doctor will be able to tell if the prostate gland has become enlarged or not. If he feels that there is a possibility of prostatitis then he shall performs further tests that include urine examination, cystoscopy, etc.
The primary cause of prostatitis is the intrusion of bacteria into the prostate gland from the urinary tract in a male. It could be either through a direct extension or through a lymphatic spread from the rectum. Prostatitis can also be caused from a sexually transmitted disease through organisms such as Nesisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, or HIV. Escherichia coli is another organism which is commonly found in urinary tract infections. However, sometimes, especially in case of chronic form of prostatitis, no specific cause of prostatitis can be found.
While men of all age can be affected by prostatitis, the condition is more prevalent in middle-aged men, and young men. Some of the most common risk factors that lead to the development of prostatitis include-
- Lack of enough water in the body, or dehydration
- Engaging in anal intercourse
- Medical history of prostatitis
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Recent urological procedure, or a recent use of urinary catheter
- Having a functional, or a structural urinary tract abnormality
- Injury or trauma of local pelvic muscles due to horse riding or bicycle riding.
Treatment for Prostatitis
The treatment of prostatitis is different for each kind. However, common treatments for most of prostatitis types include strong antibiotics, heat therapies, biofeedback exercises, etc.