Prostatitis is swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland located directly below the bladder in men. The prostate gland produces fluid (semen) that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostatitis often causes painful or difficult urination. Other symptoms of prostatitis include pain in the groin, pelvic area or genitals, and sometimes, flu-like symptoms.
Prostatitis can be caused by a number of different things. If it's caused by a bacterial infection, it can usually be treated successfully. However, sometimes prostatitis isn't caused by a bacterial infection or a cause is never identified.
Depending on the cause, prostatitis may come on gradually or suddenly. It may get better quickly, either on its own or with treatment. Some types of prostatitis last for months or more or keep recurring (chronic prostatitis).
Prostatitis symptoms vary depending on the cause. They may include:
Based on your symptoms and laboratory tests, your doctor may conclude that you have one of the following types of prostatitis:
When to see a doctor
Acute bacterial prostatitis is often caused by common strains of bacteria. The infection may start when bacteria carried in urine leaks into your prostate.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis may be the result of small amounts of bacteria that aren't eliminated with antibiotics because they "hide" in the prostate. Some men with chronic prostatitis have pain but no evidence of an inflamed prostate.
In most cases of prostatitis, the cause is never identified. Causes other than bacterial infection can include:
Normal prostate gland
The prostate gland is located just below a man's bladder and surrounds the top portion of the urethra, the tube that drains urine from the bladder. ...
Risk factors for prostatitis include:
Complications of prostatitis can include:
Prostatitis, cancer and PSA levels
There's no direct evidence that prostatitis can lead to prostate cancer.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have signs or symptoms of prostatitis, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in urinary tract and sexual disorders (urologist). Because your time with the doctor can be brief, it's a good idea to prepare ahead of time for your appointment.
What you can do
List questions for your doctor from most important to least important in case time runs out. You may want to ask some of the following questions.
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions at any time during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Diagnosing prostatitis involves ruling out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms and determining what kind of prostatitis you have. Diagnosis may include the following:
Treatments and drugs
Prostatitis treatments vary depending on the underlying cause. They can include:
Lifestyle and home remedies
The following lifestyle changes and home remedies may lessen some symptoms of prostatitis:
Alternative therapies that show some promise for reducing symptoms of prostatitis include the following:
Last Updated: 2011-03-18
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