Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland in men due to an acute or chronic infection with or without the presence of the causative bacteria. The prostate gland is located below the urinary bladder in men which explains the characteristic symptom of prostatitis, difficult or painful urination.
When bacteria are present in the urine, it can leak into the prostate and cause acute bacterial prostatitis. If the bacteria are not eliminated, the infection can recur and treatment can become complicated. Prostatitis that is not caused by a bacterial infection can be due to a nerve damage in the lower urinary tract. Some cases of prostatitis do not have an identifiable cause.
Types of Prostatitis:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis is typically caused by common strains of bacteria. The flu-like signs and symptoms occur suddenly. Symptoms can progress rapidly and become severe.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis occurs when acute prostatitis is not properly treated leading to recurrence of infection or developing infections that are difficult to treat. Symptoms are usually mild or absent in between episodes of inflammation.
- Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common type of prostatitis. It usually does not have an identifiable cause.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis does not present with any symptoms. It is diagnosed when undergoing tests for another condition and does not require treatment.
Untreated prostatitis leads to several complications. The infection can reach the blood (bacteremia) or cause the inflammation of the tube behind the testicles (epididymitis). The prostate gland can become filled with pus. Abnormalities in the semen can occur leading to infertility.
The symptoms, medical history and results of diagnostic tests are used by the physician to eliminate other possible diseases and diagnose prostatitis. Urinalysis and blood tests are initially used in detecting infection. The prostate gland can be massaged and its secretions are tested for infection. A digital rectal exam can be done to feel the prostate gland.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
- Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial prostatitis. The prescribed antibiotic depends on the strain of bacteria that caused the infection. Usual antibiotics for prostatitis include fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, erythromycin, doxycycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. The usual length of administration is four to six weeks but it can extend if there is chronic prostatitis. The antibiotic can be given orally or intravenously, depending on the severity of the disease.
- Alpha-blockers are used to minimize some symptoms by relaxing the muscles in the junction of the prostate gland and bladder.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to minimize inflammatory symptoms and provide relief for the patient.