Prostatitis, All Too Common
Prostatitis is an infection or inflammation of the prostate gland that causes intense pain, urinary complications, sexual dysfunction, infertility, and a significant reduction in the quality of life.
Estimates on the number of men in the United States who will experience prostatitis sometime during their life may be as high as 50 percent. Many urologic disease experts feel that from 5 to 10 percent of males are experiencing prostatitis at a particular time, making it one of the most common urologic diseases in the U.S. It will appear with a broad range of symptoms, from very mild discomfort to debilitating pain.
According to The Prostatitis Foundation, prostatitis can result in four significant symptoms: pain, urination problems, sexual dysfunction, and general health problems, such as feeling tired and depressed.
The prostate is a reproductive gland located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the urethra, a tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate produces most of a male's semen.
Over the years, prostatitis has been subdivided into a number of categories, but today commonly accepted variations of the disease include nonbacterial, acute, and chronic.
By far, the most common type of prostatitis is nonbacterial prostatitis. Symptoms may include frequent urination and pain in the lower abdomen or lower back area. Causes may be stress and irregular sexual activity.
Bacterial infections can be acute or chronic, meaning they come on suddenly and respond effectively to treatment, or they are recurring and cause constant discomfort and pain. The bacterial causes vary: it can be from fungi or genital viruses, or e coli. In rare instances, it is caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal organisms. As bacteria moves through the urethra, it comes in contact with the prostate and causes prostatitis.
The symptoms of a prostate infection are pain in the genital area, during urination, urinating more frequently, and suddenly having the urge to urinate. If you have symptoms such as fever or chills along with these prostatitis symptoms, see your doctor right away as this could be a sign of a much more serious prostate infection. Sometimes, a man will suffer from a decreased sex drive and impotence if he has prostatitis.
To diagnose prostatitis, a physician will collect a patient's urine and thoroughly exam his prostate gland. To check the prostate gland, a physician will carry out a digital rectal examination, which involves inserting a well lubricated gloved finger into the rectum to check for any abnormalities of the gland. The physician also may collect a sample of prostate fluid so that it can be analyzed.
Prostatitis is difficult to diagnose and treat, and has a wide range of debilitating and troublesome side effects. Unlike prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis often affects the lives of young and middle-aged men.
A diagnosis of prostatitis would come from your doctor. After gathering your prostate health history, your doctor will likely perform a physical examination which focuses on the scrotum, looking for inflammation of the testicles and surrounding areas. If the doctor performs a rectal examination, your prostate may be swollen, which may indicate an acute inflammation.
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