1. What causes prostatitis?
The prostate gland is a walnut-sized organ located behind the pubic bone and in front of the rectum in males. It's made up of smooth muscle, spongy tissue and tiny ducts and glands. The primary function of the prostate gland is to produce seminal fluid — the fluid that transports sperm. At birth, a boy's prostate is about the size of a pea. It grows slightly during childhood and then undergoes a rapid growth spurt at puberty. By the time a man reaches age 20, his prostate is adult size. After age 45, the prostate often begins to grow again when cells in the central portion of the gland start to reproduce more rapidly than normal.
Prostatitis is divided into categories based on cause. Although not technically part of your urinary system, the prostate gland is important to your urinary health. That's because the prostate surrounds the top portion of the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra). Normally, the location of the prostate gland isn't a problem. But infection or inflammation can cause the gland to swell, squeezing the urethra and affecting your ability to urinate. That's exactly what happens in prostatitis, although the cause of the inflammation depends on the type of prostatitis you have.
Acute bacterial prostatitis: Bacteria normally found in your urinary tract or large intestine cause this type of prostatitis. Most commonly, acute prostatitis originates in the prostate, but occasionally the infection can spread from a bladder or urethral infection.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis: It's not entirely clear what causes a chronic bacterial infection. Sometimes bacteria remain in the prostate following acute prostatitis. Catheter tubes used to drain the urinary bladder, trauma to the urinary system or infections in other parts of the body can sometimes be the source of the bacteria.
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis: Researchers don't know the exact cause of the two types of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, although they have a number of theories about possible triggers of the conditions, including:
Other infectious agents: Some experts believe nonbacterial prostatitis may be caused by an infectious agent that doesn't show up in standard laboratory tests. Lifting heavy objects when your bladder is full may cause urine to back up into your prostate. Occupations that subject your prostate to strong vibrations, such as driving a truck or operating heavy machinery, may play a role. Although regular exercise, especially jogging or biking, is great for the rest of your body, it may irritate your prostate gland. Urinating in an uncoordinated fashion with the sphincter muscle not relaxed may lead to high pressure in the prostate and subsequent symptoms. Narrowings (strictures) of your urethra may elevate pressure during urination and cause symptoms.
2. What are prostatitis signs and symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of prostatitis vary, depending on the cause of the inflammation. Symptoms of prostatitis are nonspecific and have been known to mimic other urologic and nonurologic diseases. One might experience no symptoms or symptoms so sudden and severe that they cause one to seek immediate emergency medical care. Prostatitis symptoms include: fever, chills, urinary frequency, frequent urination at night, difficulty urinating, burning or painful urination, perineal
(inflammation in the area between the scrotum and the anus) and low-back pain, joint or muscle pain, tender or swollen prostate, blood in the urine, and painful ejaculation.
Symptoms of prostatitis, in fact, resemble those of other infections or prostate diseases. Therefore, even if Prostatitis Symptoms disappear, one should have their prostate checked immediately. There are condition connections between the urethra, the bladder, and the prostate that affect one or the other organ and have similar or overlapping symptoms. Moreover, these conditions may occur concurrently in the same patient complicating diagnosis and treatment.
Acute bacterial prostatitis is the least common of the four types. It is also the easiest to diagnose and treat effectively. The man with this disease often experiences chills, fever, pain in the lower back and genital area, body aches, burning or painful urination, and the frequent and urgent need to urinate, often at night. The urinary tract is infected, as is evidenced by white blood cells and bacteria in the urine. The treatment of acute bacterial prostatitis is with an antibiotic appropriate for the particular bacteria. Sometimes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are given to relieve pain.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is also relatively uncommon. This condition is basically longstanding prostatitis associated with an underlying defect in the prostate, which then becomes a focal point for the persistence of bacterial infection in the urinary tract. The symptoms include low back pain, discomfort in the perineum (the area between the anus and the genitalia), testicular pain and, if the infection spreads to the bladder, mild pain or burning on urination (dysuria) and frequent and urgent need to urinate (frequency and urgency). The effective treatment of chronic bacterial prostatitis usually requires the identification and removal of the defect in the prostate and then treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics alone often do not cure the infection. Sometimes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are given to relieve pain.
Nonbacterial prostatitis is the most common and least understood form of prostatitis. It is believed to occur eight times more often than bacterial prostatitis. Nonbacterial prostatitis is frequently a chronic, painful condition that is found in men of any age. Symptoms go away and then come back without warning. The urine and fluids from the prostate show no evidence of a known infecting organism, but the semen and other fluids from the prostate contain cells that the body usually produces to fight infection. Doctors often treat nonbacterial prostatitis with antibiotics and drugs that relax the muscles of the prostate gland, but these treatments have not been proven to work and, in fact, often fail. This form of prostatitis can be associated with other diseases, such as reactive arthritis (formerly called Reiter's disease). Sometimes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are given to relieve pain.
Prostatodynia is similar to nonbacterial prostatitis with regard to symptoms, age of patients, and ineffectiveness of treatment. However, there are no objective findings, such as the presence of infection-fighting white blood cells, in the urine of men who suffer from prostatodynia. Sometimes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are given to relieve pain.