What is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis, also known as Prostate Inflammation refers largely to the inflammation experienced in the prostate either due to infection or other causes that we will explore here. The prostate gland is a male organ located in the pelvic area and is situated under the bladder and encircles the urethra. Its function is to produce seminal fluid that is secreted during ejaculation.
Prostatitis is a fairly prevalent but underreported condition. Unfortunately, many men choose to suffer silently without fully grasping that they should seek medical assistance. Research shows that 10%-25% of men may experience prostatitis during their lifetime.
What are the possible symptoms of Prostatitis?
Symptoms may vary depending on the root cause.
However, here is a list of possible symptoms:
- Difficult urination (problem starting or stopping I.e. dribbling, hesitancy).
- Discomfort, burning, pain during urination.
- Frequent urination (particularly at night)
- Feeling that your bladder has not been completely emptied or a moist feeling in the urethra
- Blood in urine and/or semen
- Cloudy urine
- Pelvic pain- an ache or sharp pain that gets worse when seated.
- Discomfort or pain around the perineum (the area between the anus and scrotum, testicles, or penis.
- Lower back pain- this can be referred pain emanating from the pelvic floor muscles.
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Erectile dysfunction
- Premature ejaculation
- Painful ejaculation
What are the possible causes of Prostatitis?
There are some infectious causes of prostatitis which include sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs) such as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and other organisms such as Mycoplasma bacteria or Ureaplasma.
You can also get Prostatitis from non-STI type bacterial infections. These kinds of infections are usually seen in older men with Diabetes, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome where bacteria can move through the colon wall to the prostate tissue. This bacterial translocation can also happen after instrumentation namely a colonoscopy (endoscopic examination of the bowels) and a cystoscopy (examination of the urethra and bladder.
Luckily, infections that cause Prostatitis can be treated by antibiotics. If the infection is mild, the antibiotic course may last for a few days, while a severe infection may require an antibiotic course that lasts a few weeks.
There are other causes of Prostatitis, but they are not well understood. They can cause recurrent or chronic symptoms.
The conditions can be complicated, and diagnosis and treatment can be very tricky.
The symptoms that you are experiencing may result from the following conditions such as:
- Chronic prostatitis
- Interstitial cystitis
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Levator ani syndrome
- Chronic pelvic pain syndrome
Symptoms can be triggered by periods of high stress, sexual intercourse, changes in the weather, or certain foods.
These types of prostatitis are often confused, and misdiagnoses are common. They are often mistaken for other pelvic conditions. Sadly, many patients become frustrated and riddled with anxiety due to the lack of clarity regarding their condition and possible treatment options.
Stress and anxiety can play a significant role in both the development of symptoms and the effects of the condition. Patients who suffer from anxiety tend to have severe and recurring pelvic pain. The pain often causes more anxiety, and the vicious cycle continues.
Interestingly, some men noticed that their symptoms started after a sexual encounter.
Despite negative results, you may still be anxious about contracting a sexually transmitted infection or disease. Chronic pain can be both debilitating and devastating, some people become socially withdrawn, lose their self-esteem, and have trouble maintaining healthy intimate relationships.
These types of prostatitis respond to medication, psychotherapy/counseling, rehabilitation, and in certain cases low intensity/pulse extracorporeal shock wave therapy has proven effective.
What can I expect from my doctor’s visit?
At your consultation, your doctor will ascertain the severity of your condition based on your feedback about the symptoms that you are experiencing. Your doctor will be on the lookout for underlying causes.
You will be asked questions pertaining to your potential sexual exposures, past medical history, and other prostatitis risk factors. Your doctor will perform a physical examination, you will be checked for prostate gland swelling or tenderness, enlarged lymph nodes, and genital abnormalities. You will then be advised on the testing that is right for you.
Is there anything I should do to prepare for the consultation?
If you believe that your prostatitis may be linked to an infective cause, we advise that you hold your urine for about 2 hours before your appointment. This increases the accuracy of the test.
In some cases, depending on symptoms, you may need to consider a test for bacterial in the semen if it is deemed necessary.
Tests for prostatitis do not require you to do any kind of fasting.
Is Prostatitis curable?
Many factors have to be taken into consideration before that question can be answered.
There are different kinds of prostatitis, as such treatment options and their effectiveness will be influenced by the type and severity of your condition. Most types of prostatitis are triggered by infection and completely treatable with antibiotics. This process may take anywhere between 4-6 weeks to achieve a complete recovery.
Unfortunately, some types of prostatitis can be chronic and persistent. In these cases, a combination of therapies including relaxation medication that targets the nerves of the pelvic floor muscles or ESWT. This type of prostatitis can take a bit longer to resolve.
In order to get results sooner rather than later, patients are encouraged to stick to the treatment plan. Compliance and consistency are essential for a speedy recovery.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms experienced above, do reach out to your doctor.
You should never ignore your symptoms since treatment may be simpler than you envision. Feel free to contact our clinic for an appointment, so that you can have your medical condition resolved.