Prostate Infection Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies
Prostate infection (prostatitis) occurs when your prostate and surrounding area become inflamed. There are several types of infection that can affect your prostate. Some men have no symptoms at all, while others report many, including intense pain.
The prostate is about the size of a walnut and located between your bladder and the base of your penis. Running through the center of your prostate is the urethra. This is the tube that moves urine from bladder to your penis, and semen from the sex glands to penis. The prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system.
Types of Prostatitis
There are four types of prostatitis. The most common is chronic prostatitis, in which symptoms come and go. It strikes men of all ages.
Symptoms of chronic bacterial prostatitis are less intense and develop slowly. It is more likely to affect young and middle-aged men and causes recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs). Acute bacterial prostatitis is the least common, but the easiest to diagnose. It’s also more serious. Untreated, it can be life threatening.
In asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, the patient has an inflamed prostate but no symptoms. It’s usually discovered when diagnosing some other problem.
The cause of prostate infection isn’t always clear. Sometimes, bacteria can get into the prostate through the urethra if urine flows back into the prostatic ducts.
You are at increased risk of prostate infection if you use a catheter or have a medical procedure involving the urethra. Other risk factors include bladder obstruction or infection and some sexually transmitted diseases. Enlarged prostate or injury to the area can also encourage infection.
Symptoms of prostate infection may include fever, chills, and flushing of the skin. Some men experience pain in the abdomen, back, or in the genital area. You may feel pain or burning during urination, or have difficulty urinating at all. Frequent urination, or urinary urgency during the night can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Pain may also accompany ejaculation or bowel movements. Your urine may have a bad odor. You may notice blood in your urine or in your semen.
Pinpointing the exact nature of prostate infection can be difficult and other serious conditions must first be ruled out. A biopsy or a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) can be used to rule out prostate cancer.
Examination may include a digital rectal exam, urinalysis, and urine culture. Your doctor may also order an ultrasound to get a closer look. The cause will help determine the correct course of treatment.
For bacterial prostatitis, you may need to take antimicrobials for several weeks or months. Acute infections may require hospitalization. If there’s a blockage in the bladder or some other anatomic problem, surgery may be necessary.
Some patients find that warm baths or prostatic massage can ease symptoms. Alpha-blockers may be prescribed to relax muscle tissue in the prostate. Other treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers, and stool softeners.
Your doctor may recommend that you ease up on spicy foods, citrus, and beverages containing caffeine or alcohol. Drink plenty of water to help flush your bladder.
Although treated with antibiotics, bacterial prostatitis tends to recur in some men. That may be because the particular antibiotics aren’t effective or they don’t destroy all the bacteria. Make sure you take all medication as prescribed.
If you have recurrent prostate infection, ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist. You may need to take medications for a longer period or try different ones altogether. You may also need to make use of medications that manage symptoms.
In most cases, the infection will clear up completely with proper treatment. Chronic prostatitis may require several different approaches to treatment, or trying different medications. Men with prostate infection generally have a good quality of life while coping with symptoms.
Complications of chronic prostatitis include an inability to urinate and formation of abscess. Bacteria can spread into your bloodstream (a condition called sepsis).
It Is What It Is
Prostate infections, even chronic ones, have nothing to do with prostate cancer, nor do they increase risk for prostate cancer. You can continue to have sexual relations as long as you’re comfortable. Sex won’t make the infection worse. According to the American Urological Association, prostatitis is not caused by a partner’s UTI. A prostate infection is not contagious. You didn’t get it from your partner – and you won’t spread it to your partner.
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