The average person urinates six to eight times a day. You probably never pay attention to how often you do this routine activity … until the day it hurts. A lot of literature exists on the topics of enlarged prostate and prostate cancer, but there is a lesser-known illness that could affect men even sooner—prostatitis—and its symptoms can be quite painful. Knowing more about this illness now could save you from some suffering later.
The prostate is a small gland located below a man’s bladder. This is where semen is produced. When the prostate becomes inflamed, it is referred to as prostatitis. Although it causes swelling and tenderness, prostatitis is different from an enlarged prostate mostly in its cause and who it typically affects. Prostatitis is most often caused by a bacterial infection, either because bacteria gets into the prostate through infected urine (urinary tract infection) flowing back into it or through a bacterial disease transmitted through sex, like chlamydia or gonorrhea. Prostatitis can also occur after an injury to the area through surgery or some other trauma. One example of a surgical procedure that can lead to prostatitis is a catheter where the device is inserted in the urethra to drain fluid and causes nerve damage in the lower urinary tract. Prostatitis is also unique from an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer in that it usually affects men age fifty and younger—prostatitis can happen to any man at any age. In fact, one in six men will experience prostatitis at some point in his life.
Signs Of Prostatitis
There are some warning signs of prostatitis that may give you a clue that you might be suffering from this condition. Most men first start to notice symptoms related to urination—urgent need to urinate, especially at night, difficulty urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, and/or pain while urinating. You may also experience pain in other areas such as the lower back, perineum (area between rectum and scrotum), or in the organs around the prostate like the bladder, testicles, and penis. Painful ejaculations can also result from prostatitis, and in cases of bacterial prostatitis, flu-like symptoms may arise causing fever and chills.
Prostatitis can happen to any man, but there are some factors that put some men at higher risk. At the top of the list is having had prostatitis before, in which case it could be a chronic condition that returns from time to time. Other things that put you at higher risk for prostatitis are pelvic trauma from injury to the area from something like bicycling or horseback riding. Recent bladder infections, STDs, and certain illnesses like HIV or AIDS make you more likely to get prostatitis as well. Any kind of surgical procedure in the area, including biopsy, make you more susceptible to prostatitis. If any of these risk factors apply to you, pay close attention to any pain or changes in urinary habits.
If It Is Prostatitis
If you do find yourself experiencing symptoms of prostatitis, your doctor will first need to determine which type you have. Through a physical exam and discussion of your symptoms and history, he will decide if further diagnostic testing is required. If so, testing may include urine or blood tests, or in some cases, an image test of the area. If it is determined that your prostatitis is bacterial, antibiotics are the most common treatment prescribed. If it is non-bacterial, medication to relieve symptoms may be prescribed like an alpha blocker to relax the muscles or an anti-inflammatory drug. In many cases of prostatitis, the symptoms are not so severe as to require anything further, and there are things you can do at home to help as well. A warm bath or heating pad can provide pain relief to the pelvic area or lower back. Avoid foods and drinks that may irritate the bladder like spicy or acidic foods and alcohol and caffeine. Non-alcoholic, caffeine-free liquids can help flush out bacteria and increase urine flow, so be sure to stay well-hydrated. Certain activities should also be avoided while symptoms persist—things that put pressure on the prostate like long car rides or bicycling.
Although you may be able to relieve symptoms on your own, it is important to remember that left untreated, some types of prostatitis can cause long-term complications. If you are having pelvic pain, difficulty urinating, or painful ejaculations, make an appointment with Mississippi Urology Clinic at one of our convenient locations today. We can help assess your condition and get treatment started immediately if necessary to avoid further infection or damage; not to mention, provide you with some much-needed relief!