Swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland is known as prostatitis. It is caused by either a bacterial or nonbacterial infection and can cause pain, discomfort and difficulty with urination. Differing from prostate cancer or BPH, it can affect men of all ages.
The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system. Its main role is to produce semen, the fluid that carries and protects sperm. It is about the size of a walnut and sits just below the bladder in men.
The prostate surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the thin tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. It also carries semen from the prostate and sperm from the testicles to penis during ejaculation.
There are four types:
Acute bacterial prostatitis: This is when bacteria makes its way to the prostate via the urinary tract, causing an infection. This causes a sudden onset of symptoms such as fever, chills, joint pain, pain in the lower back, pain behind the scrotum.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis: This is a milder infection that is more common in older men. It can linger for several months with symptoms that come and go. Symptoms include the urgent need to urinate, painful urination or ejaculation, pain in the rectum and lower back, urinary blockage and UTIs.
Chronic Prostatitis: Also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), this is the most common form of prostatitis. Although the symptoms are similar to bacterial prostatitis, it is triggered by factors such as physical injury, stress, nerve damage or past infections. Symptom include ongoing pain (3 months or more) in the penis, scrotum, lower back, abdomen and perineum, and pain during urination or ejaculation, and weak urination.
Asymptomatic prostatitis: This is when the prostate is inflamed but no symptoms present themselves. It usually requires no treatment.
Risk factors for prostatitis include:
• Age – if you are middle aged you have a higher risk of developing it
• Physical injury to the pelvis
• Prior instances of the condition
• Having had a prostate biopsy
Bacterial prostatitis is caused by bacteria that enters the prostate via the urinary tract, causing an infection. If acute bacterial prostatitis is not treated successfully it can lead to chronic bacterial prostatitis.
Treatment will depend on the type and the underlying cause. Antibiotics are the most common treatment for bacterial prostatitis. The type prescribed will depend on the strain of bacteria causing the infection. Nonbacterial prostatitis may heal on its own. However, for serious urinary obstructions or chronic pelvic pain syndrome surgery may be required.
If you have any questions regarding issues with your prostate, or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact Urology Specialist here.