Chronic Prostatitis | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Chronic prostatitis is a benign condition and is manageable with antibiotics. Here’s what you should know if you think you have it.

RELATED: Enlarged Prostate | Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Chronic Prostatitis | a Quick and Useful Guide

 

What Is Chronic Prostatitis?

mature male patient consultation doctor office | prostatitis diagnosis

Before we find out what it is, it is essential to know the function of the prostate and what prostatitis is.

What Is the Prostate?

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that forms part of the male reproductive system. It manufactures the fluid that, when mixed with sperm, produces semen. It’s located beneath the bladder and beside the rectum.

Because of its location and function, conditions related to the prostate affect the bladder and the male reproductive function.

What Is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate. Any man, regardless of age, may develop it, but it is more common in men aged between 30 to 50.

There are four broad types:

  1. Chronic Prostatitis (also called Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome, CP/CPPS)
  2. Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
  3. Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
  4. Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis

The types may have similar symptoms but are treated and managed differently. Only a urologist will be able to determine what type you may have. Accurate diagnosis is the best first step to managing your condition.

What Is Chronic Prostatitis?

This article will be discussing the two chronic types— CP/CPPS and chronic bacterial prostatitis.

  1. Chronic Prostatitis (CP/CPPS) is the most common type and is a prostate inflammation and irritation of the nerves.
  2. Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis is a bacterial type of prostatitis and is less common.

They are called chronic as they may come and go and last for three months or longer. On the other hand, acute prostatitis may last for only days or weeks, and it is easier to treat.

In the case of chronic prostatitis, your physician’s initial prostatitis treatments may not work, but it usually improves over time.

What makes it difficult to treat is that there are no known causes.

What Are the Causes?

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The causes are not clear-cut, and it could take a few tests to find out the cause. In most cases, the local inflammation may irritate the nerves, causing pain. However, in fewer cases, it may be because of a bacterial infection.

It’s still unclear what could cause chronic prostatitis (CP/CPPS), but possible causes include:

  • stress
  • nerve irritation or local inflammation
  • injury to the urinary tract
  • recent urinary tract infection
  • pelvic floor muscle tension
  • urethral stricture or scar tissue
  • prostate cancer
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia (non-cancerous growth)

This type of prostatitis does not have a trace of bacteria in the urine or semen. Because of this, it is more tricky to find the root cause. Your urologist may have to take a number of tests before reaching a prostatitis diagnosis.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection in the prostate. Bacteria may enter the urethra when infected urine flows backward. Your urologist will be able to detect a bacterial infection via urine samples, semen fluid, or blood tests.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostatitis?

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The most distinguishable symptom of chronic prostatitis is a pain in the genital or pelvic region.

You may have chronic prostatitis if you exhibit the following symptoms:

  • pain when urinating
  • difficulty urinating
  • pain during ejaculation
  • difficulty ejaculating
  • pain in the:
    • bladder
    • testicles
    • penis
    • between the anus and the above mentioned

Symptoms for bacterial prostatitis may come and go over a long period, and include:

  • burning sensation when urinating
  • frequent urination
  • pain during ejaculation
  • pain in the:
    • bladder
    • testicles
    • penis
    • between the anus and the above mentioned

Keep in mind that there are other conditions related to the prostate. Pain may point to prostate stones, a urinary tract, infection, or prostate cancer.

Pain, frequent urination, and depressive symptoms can greatly affect the quality of life of patients. If you relate to any of the symptoms, consult with a doctor.

RELATED: Top 7 Prostate Health Supplements You Try

When Should I See My Doctor?

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Many use the term prostatitis as an umbrella term for inflammation. But there are four types each with different treatment plans and causes. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from a urologist.

Consult with a physician if you experience any pain or difficulty urinating or ejaculating, or any of the symptoms discussed. After discussing the symptoms with a doctor, he or she may refer you to a urologist.

A urologist specializes in the urinary tract and the male reproductive system.

Your doctor may begin with a digital rectal exam to feel if your prostate is enlarged or tender. Itmay hurt if you have prostatitis, but the pain will subside shortly. A firm prostate or lumps may point to prostate cancer.

To get a better grasp of your condition, your doctor may ask you to take tests such as:

  • transrectal ultrasound
  • prostate fluid and urine test
  • cystoscopy
  • urodynamics or urine flow dynamics

Your urologist will come up with a diagnosis based on the results of your exam. With a definite diagnosis, your treatment plan can begin.

How Do You Manage or Treat It?

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Your treatment plan will depend on what condition you have.

If your urologist diagnoses you with chronic bacterial prostatitis, he or she may prescribe antibiotics for four to 12 weeks. In most cases, your symptoms will clear up. However, it’s also normal for them to return and you may need to take antibiotics again. In which case you may need to take low-dose antibiotics for a longer period.

You may also be prescribed antibiotics even if you’re not diagnosed with a bacterial infection because the cause of chronic prostatitis is unknown. If the cause isn’t bacterial and your condition doesn’t improve, you may be asked to take:

  • anti-inflammatory medicine
  • alpha-blockers
  • physiotherapy

Prostate massages or biofeedback may also help reduce the pain by relaxing the nearby muscles. Keep in mind that studies about prostate massages are limited. If you want to explore this option, consult with a urologist.

There are remedies you can do at home to help you deal with the pain like:

  • hot bath
  • heating pads
  • hot water bottles
  • donut pillow or inflatable cushion

Is It Cancerous?

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Prostatitis is not cancerous.

However, it may have similar symptoms to prostate cancer. If you feel any pain or relate to the symptoms, consult with a doctor.

Is Chronic Prostatitis Preventable?

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Because the cause of chronic prostatitis is unknown, it may not be preventable.

You could keep chronic bacterial prostatitis at bay by practicing proper hygiene and safe sex.

Health brands market the benefits of saw palmetto and herbal supplements to boost penis health. But there is no evidence that they can cure prostatitis. They may also react with the medication you’re taking, so discuss with your doctor before taking supplements.

Check out this video where John Hopkins Medicine weighs in on the conversation on prostate supplements:

Science has made leaps and bounds in urology. Scientists continue to hunt for a new prostatitis treatment and uncover the causes of the condition.

Chronic prostatitis is understandably difficult to deal with. The symptoms come and go and it could take weeks or months before they improve.

The best way to deal with them is to tackle them with your doctor. The first step to a healthy prostate is a doctor’s appointment.

Do you have regular visits with your physician?

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Are there other conditions you would like us to talk about?  Let us know in the comments section below.

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