Chronic Prostatitis

Chronic prostatitis affects men and causes inflammation and pain in the prostate gland, which is located in the lower urinary tract directly underneath the bladder. This condition is most prevalent in men who are aged between 35 and 50. Left untreated, this condition can develop into serious urinary and sexual problems. Out of every 10 men, 1 or 2 will get chronic prostatitis some time in their life. Two million annual visits to the doctor are related to an inflamed prostate.

What Is Chronic Prostatitis?

The term "prostatitis" refers to the inflammation of the prostate gland. It can either be chronic (persistent) or acute. On the other hand, it can be non-infective or infective.

For you to be diagnosed with chronic prostatitis, you must have had the symptoms for 3 months or more. For acute prostatitis, the symptoms show up and disappear much faster. There are 2 major types:

  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • CPPS (Chronic Prostatitis)

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

This condition's symptoms normally vary in intensity from time to time. You will mostly feel discomfort and pain around the anus, at penis' base, in your lower back and/or just above the pubic bone. The pain can spread to the testes and penis. You might also feel some discomfort when you are passing stool. In addition, you might have symptoms similar to a urine infection. These symptoms include passing urine often, pain when urinating or a pressing urge to urinate.

Acute bacterial prostatitis has similar symptoms, but men with chronic prostatitis are usually less sickly compared those suffering from acute bacterial prostatitis. They are not likely to experience pains, aches and high fever.

When antibiotics are administered, symptoms of this condition normally reduce. Nevertheless, if the antibiotics don’t clear the infected prostate, it is more likely that the illness will flare-up again. Before the infection comes back, you are likely to have mild urine infection symptoms like frequently passing urine and mild pain.

Chronic Prostatitis/CPPS

In this case, symptoms have been observed for 3 months in the past 6 months. These symptoms are:

  • Pain.You will experience pain around your anus, at the penis' base, lower back and lower abdomen. In some cases, the pain might spread to the penis' tip and/or to the testicles. The major symptom for chronic prostatitis is pain and its severity varies on a daily basis.
  • Urinary symptoms.These include a poor urine stream, mild pain whenever you're urinating, pressing urge to urinate and some resistance any time you try to urinate.
  • Sexual complications.You might experience problems when trying to get an erection (impotence), or you feel pain when ejaculating or even worse pain after sexual intercourse.
  • Other symptoms. General pains and aches as well as fatigue.

When to See a Doctor

If you feel pelvic pain, painful or difficult urination and painful ejaculation (orgasm), it is wise to pay your doctor a visit. Some types of prostatitis can cause other health problems or worsening infections if left untreated.

What Are the Causes & Risk Factorsof Chronic Prostatitis

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

This is a form of infective prostatitis. It is mainly caused by a persistent (chronic) infection in the prostate gland. A man who has this condition will keep having urine infections over and over. The type of bacteria that causes urine infections is also responsible for this condition. The infection can be harbored in the prostate gland making the infection recur. It is, however, important to note that prostatitis isn't sexually transmitted.

Chronic Prostatitis/CPPS

The cause of this type of prostatitis is unknown. However, there are many theories that try to explain its cause. They include nerve problems affecting the prostate, infection of the gland by an unidentified germ, an autoimmune problem of the prostate (the antibodies that are meant to be fighting diseases are fighting the prostrate instead), and inflammation as a result of urine moving back into the prostrate when passing urine.Different people respond differently to anti-inflammatory painkillers and antibiotics. For this reason, doctors prefer calling this condition chronic pelvic pain syndrome to disassociate it from the prostate gland being the root of the problem.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for this condition include:

  • Being under stress
  • Having HIV/AIDS
  • Inheriting certain traits – some men are more vulnerable to the condition due to a specific gene
  • Being middle aged or a young man
  • Having pelvic trauma like from cycling or horse riding
  • Having a history of prostatitis
  • Having an infection in the bladder or urethra
  • Not drinking enough liquids
  • The use of a catheter - a tube used to drain urine from the bladder in place of the urethra
  • Engaging in unprotected sex

What Are the Treatments for Chronic Prostatitis?

For Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

The possible treatments include:

  • An extended antibiotic dosage. If your healthcare provider administers antibiotics and the symptoms are yet to clear after 4 weeks, they might prescribe a longer dosage. In some cases, the dosage can last up to 3 months.
  • Prostatectomy (prostate gland removal) can be an option if there is presence of calculi (small stones). It isn't well known how this procedure can help, but there are suggestions that these calculi are the cause of the infection recurring. Nevertheless, this is an uncommon practice, and it isn't a viable option for everybody. It is important to seek the advice of a specialist.

For Chronic Prostatitis

Possible treatments include:

  • Antibiotics. At first these can be tried out. However, the evidence of their efficacy is limited. There is a possibility that a number of antibiotics might rid you of some of the hard to detect bacteria from a urine test or some antibiotics have anti-inflammatory elements.
  • Alpha-blockers.This is medication that is used to cure prostate enlargement. Alpha-blockers work by relaxing the outlet of the bladder and the prostate’s muscle tissue. There are a number of brands that are available and have shown evidence in easing CPPS. They are worth trying.
  • Other medication.Examples include finasteride (a drug that may reduce the size of the prostate) and bioflavonoids (like quercetin)
  • Stress management.To cope with chronic pain, stress management and any other pain-reliving techniques are applied.

Home Remedies

Some of the home remedies that can reduce the symptoms of prostatitis include:

  • Take a sit bath - that is, soaking in a warm bath.
  • Avoid or reduce the consumption of acidic or spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid cycling, or adjust your bicycle to reduce the pressure exerted to your prostrate and wear padded shorts
  • Do not sit for long hours to avoid applying too much pressure to the prostate or try and sit on a pillow or soft cushion.
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