Prostate is a walnut sized organ that sits at the end of the penis (inside the body) and right below the bladder. The urethra that carries urine from the bladder through the penis passes through the prostate organ. Prostate controls the passage of urine through the urethra. Prostatitis is a medical condition when the prostate of a person gets inflamed due to an infection. Prostatitis may show symptoms in some and may not show in some others, but detected during a medical check up for other problems.
What causes Prostatitis?
Like many other diseases, the exact cause of Prostatitis is not exactly known so far. Possible causes are:
- Microbes that infect the prostate gland
- Immune system responding to a possible Urinary Tract Infection
- Immune system responding to a possible nerve damage in the area (that could have happened due to a surgery or an accident)
As the name suggests, acute and chronic bacterial Prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection. This can be due to any UTI or STD or due to any instrument your doctor may have used on you for examination in the recent past.
Symptoms of prostate infection
Symptoms of acute bacterial Prostatitis:
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Body pains
- Inability to empty bladder completely
- Fever and body pains
- Pain in abdomen or lower back
If you have any of these symptoms that on set suddenly and persist for more than a couple of days. You must also keep a tab on how frequently you are urinating, whether you are waking up from sleep to urinate multiple times during nights or if you have had unprotected sex in the recent past that could lead to any infection. Should you notice foul smell or blood in your urine or semen, please rush to your nearest sexologist or urologist immediately.
Symptoms of Chronic bacterial Prostatitis
These symptoms develop over a period of time and don’t seem to be severe. They include:
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Pain in testicles or penis region
- Pain around groin, lower abdomen or lower back
- Painful ejaculation
Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis
The symptoms in this case may be similar to the ones experienced due to ‘Chronic bacterial prostatitis’. In addition, the person may also experience:
- Pain in the perineum area (scrotum and anus)
- Pain around penis, scrotum or lower back
Diagnosis of prostatitis
When you report your symptoms to your urologist or sexologist, make sure you reveal your complete medical history, especially for the last one or two years, the medications that you are taking, if any. That will give him/her a fair idea to suspect some and rule out some possibilities. A digital rectal exam will be done to the prostate to check for any discharge, enlarged lymph nodes (happens during severe infection) and swollen scrotum.
Your doctor may also collect your urine and semen samples for analysis. A biopsy may also be required to determine the possibility of ‘prostate cancer’. At times, stones inside the bladder also cause infection and pain. (Stones inside the bladder form when urine is not passed completely due to prostate problems. These stones again block the passage of urine and any infection in the urine will affect bladder, prostate and even kidneys). Your doctor may use a Cystoscope to check the urethra and bladder for any such blockages.
Treatment for prostatitis
If the infection is not severe, oral antibiotics will be prescribed. You will need to drink a lot of water to flush out the bacteria that build up in the bladder. It is advisable to avoid alcohol, coffee and other acidic or spicy foods in such conditions. If the infection is severe, you may be admitted to the hospital and antibiotics will be administered intravenously.
The medication course may span from few weeks to few months depending on whether the infection is acute or chronic. If there are stones blocking the bladder from passing urine, surgery may also be needed. If you are suffering from bacterial prostatitis and if you do not complete the course, there is a possibility of recurrence of the infection and you will have to go through the entire process all over again. Always follow your urologist’s instructions wrt life style changes and medications until you are completely cured.