Prostatitis (prostate inflammation) causes painful urination, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) increase the risk of developing the condition. Prostatitis can be referred to as an infection of the prostate, but inflammation often occurs without a known infection. Roughly five to ten percent of prostatitis cases are caused by a bacterial infection, but luckily, it does not lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Although an enlarged prostate commonly affects older men, men of all ages are prone to prostatitis, with 25 percent of hospital visits being accounted for by younger and middle-aged men.
There are three main types of prostatitis: acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, and chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. Acute bacterial prostatitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation that is typically uncommon but comes with severe symptoms. Chronic bacterial prostatitis occurs from recurrent urinary tract infections that enter the prostate gland. Symptoms may be similar to acute bacterial prostatitis but less severe and fluctuating. Lastly, chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is the most common form of prostatitis that presents urinary and pelvic pain for at least three to six months.
Prostate inflammation (prostatitis) causes and risk factors
Prostatitis can be caused by bacteria entering the prostate gland from the urinary tract or from a sexually transmitted disease, specifically gonorrhea, chlamydia, or HIV.
Risk factors for prostatitis include a prior history of prostatitis, developing a UTI, use of a catheter or other urologic procedures, an enlarged prostate gland, engaging in anal intercourse, having a structural or functional urinary tract abnormality, dehydration, and local pelvic trauma.
Prostatitis signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of prostatitis can range in severity and occurrence. The most common symptoms include discomfort, pain, or aching in the testicles or the area between the testicles, discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen, urinary urgency or frequency, pain or stinging sensation during urination, feeling as if you are sitting on a golf ball, lack of libido, and difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
Types of prostatitis
Acute bacterial: The least common type and caused by an infection. This type can become quite serious, as it has the potential to spread to the blood or other parts of the body. Symptoms can present strongly and come on suddenly. This type is considered easy to diagnose.
Chronic bacterial: Has a more gradual onset, with symptoms presenting in a less severe manner when compared to the acute form. This condition may last for a long period of time or may recur after treatment.
Chronic abacterial: Also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome and as prostatitis without a clear cause for its occurrence. This form is considered the most common type of prostatitis, with symptoms that may be constant or occur as occasional flare-ups. Diagnostic tests may show immune cells in the urine or semen, but no bacteria is found.
Asymptomatic inflammatory: Presents with no symptoms, but on diagnostic tests of prostate tissue, infection-fighting cells are present. This diagnosis is often discovered on routine examination and found accidentally when treating another problem.
Prostatitis diagnosis and treatment options
If you detect any symptoms of prostatitis or your doctor suspects you have the condition, you will be referred to a urologist who can confirm the diagnosis. As a patient, you will undergo a thorough physical exam to rule out other causes of an inflamed prostate. Furthermore, the urologist will have you complete urine collection so they can examine your urine. The following are diagnostic tests that may be employed:
- Urine tests: Looking for signs of infection
- Blood tests: Looking for signs of infection and other prostate problems
- Post-prostatic massage: Rarely, your doctor will want to massage the prostate and test the secretions
- Imaging tests: May include computer tomography scans (CT) of the urinary tract and prostate or a sonogram (ultrasound)
There are many different treatment options for prostatitis depending on the cause. For example, if the cause of prostatitis is bacterial, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Other treatment options include alpha blockers, anti-inflammatory agents, prostate massage, and other treatments currently being studied, such as heat therapy or drugs with specific plant ingredients.
Treat prostatitis naturally with home remedies
There are home remedies you can utilize to further help treat prostatitis:
- Drink a mixture of goldenseal herb: Contains potent antibacterial and antibiotic properties helping to reduce inflammation
- Consume tomatoes on a regular basis: Contain antioxidants to help fight infection. They also contain bioflavonoid lycopene, which helps decrease the frequency of urination
- Drink plenty of water: Helps to clear away harmful waste and toxins
- Soak sesames overnight and chew on them in the morning: May help reduce the symptoms of prostatitis
- Drink vegetable juices that contain celery, carrot, and spinach: If enjoyed twice a day, it can help relieve the symptoms of prostatitis
- Take a horsetail herb supplement for a short period of time: Considered a natural cure for prostatitis but may cause thiamine and potassium deficiency if taken long term
- Consume red grapes and other fruits regularly: Contain lycopene that may aid in easing prostate irritation
- Consume watermelon seeds or have them in powder form: Contains unsaturated fatty acids that aid in balancing the pH level in the urinary bladder and tract
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers: May help in treating the pain associated with prostatitis
- Consume plenty of higher fiber foods: May aid in combating infection
- Be physically active, as sitting for prolonged periods of time: Helps prevent inflammation leading to worsening of symptoms
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods: These can irritate the prostate and bladder, worsening symptoms
- Control your stress and anxiety: They may worsen your symptoms
- Pumpkin seeds: Rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining a healthy prostate
- Carrot juice: An excellent remedy taken twice a day for prostatitis and other prostate diseases
- Cranberries: Rich in antioxidants and other natural compounds effective for treatment of urinary tract disorders
By sticking to the plan your doctor has put you on, along with these home remedies, you can have much success in treating prostatitis.