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Prostatitis

Prostatitis is painful inflammation of a man's prostate gland, sometimes caused by an infection.

Symptoms of prostatitis include urination pain and problems, ejaculation pain and pain and discomfort around the pelvis, genitals, lower back and buttocks.

Types of prostatitis

Types of prostatitis include:

  • Acute bacterial prostatitis. A sudden bacterial infection marked by inflammation of the prostate. This is the least common form of prostatitis but the symptoms are usually severe. Patients with this condition have an acute urinary tract infection with increased urinary frequency and urgency, need to urinate a lot at night, and have pain in the pelvis and genital area. They often have fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and burning when urinating. Acute bacterial prostatitis requires prompt treatment, as the condition can lead to bladder infections, abscesses in the prostate or, in extreme cases, completely blocked urine flow. The condition is usually treated with antibiotics and painkillers. A patient may be so unwell that they need hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics and intravenous fluids.
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis. This condition is often the result of urinary tract infections that have entered the prostate gland. It is thought to exist for several years in some men before producing symptoms. The symptoms are similar to acute bacterial prostatitis, but are less severe and can fluctuate in intensity. The diagnosis of this condition is often challenging. It's often difficult to find the bacteria in the urine. Treatment includes antibiotics for four or more weeks and other treatment for pain. Sometimes men are given suppressive low-dose, long-duration antibiotic therapy.
  • Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. This is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90% of the cases. The condition is marked by urinary and genital pain for at least three of the past six months. Patients have no bacteria in their urine, but may have other signs of inflammation. The condition can be confused with interstitial cystitis (a chronic inflammation of the bladder).

What causes prostatitis?

How the prostate becomes infected is not clear. The bacteria that cause prostatitis may get into the prostate from the urethra by backward flow of infected urine or stool from the rectum.

At one time, prostatitis was believed to be a sexually transmitted disease, but more recent research suggests that only a small number of cases are passed on through sex.

Certain conditions and medical procedures increase the risk of developing prostatitis. You are at greater risk of getting prostatitis if you:

  • Recently have had a medical instrument, such as a urinary catheter (a soft, lubricated tube used to drain urine from the bladder) inserted during a medical procedure
  • Engage in anal intercourse
  • Have an abnormal urinary tract
  • Have had a recent bladder infection
  • Have an enlarged prostate

Other causes may include autoimmune disease (an abnormal reaction of the body to the prostate tissue).

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