Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that often causes swelling or pain. There are three levels of prostatitis: nonbacterial prostatitis, acute bacterial prostatitis and chronic prostatitis.
• Nonbacterial prostatitis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is the most common type of prostatitis. It may be caused by stress or irregular sexual activity. Symptoms include frequent urination and pain in lower abdomen or back.
• Acute bacterial prostatitis is 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 may experience increased urinary frequency and urgency, need to urinate often at night, and pain in the low back, pelvis and genital area. They often have fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and burning when urinating.
• Chronic prostatitis is characterized by recurrent prostate infections. Symptoms are generally less severe than acute bacterial prostatitis and are rarely accompanied by fever. This condition can affect any age group, but is most common in young and middle-aged men.
The correct diagnosis is very important because the treatment is different for the different types of prostatitis syndromes. It is extremely important to make sure that the symptoms are not caused by other conditions such as an enlarged prostate or cancer. To help make the correct diagnosis, several types of examinations are useful.
• Your doctor will take a urine sample to determine whether the problem is in the urethra, bladder or prostate.
• Your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam to make sure your prostate feels normal in shape and size.
• Your doctor may also collect a sample of prostatic fluid by pressing on your prostate to force fluid out into the urethra.
• A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test may be performed to test for infection and cancer, and to rule out other problems.
Nonbacterial prostatitis is most often treated with anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants. Other options may include hot baths, relaxing when urinating, drinking more fluids or dietary changes. Some people may benefit from avoiding spicy foods and caffeinated or acidic drinks.
If acute bacterial prostatitis is diagnosed, the patient will need to take antibiotics. Usually for two to four weeks. It is very important to take the complete course of antibiotic prescribed.
Chronic prostatitis is typically treated with antibiotics for four to 12 weeks. About 75 percent of all cases of chronic bacterial prostatitis clear up with this treatment.