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Dr. Green
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland, and the term is used to describe a wide range of prostate disorders. Dr. Jerman, can you tell us more about prostatitis?

Dr. Jerman
Of course, Dr. Green. Inflammation of the prostate is most commonly caused by bacteria. Acute bacterial prostatitis is a serious medical condition that tends to come on suddenly and can be quite painful. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to diagnose and treat. A urinalysis will reveal white blood cells and bacteria in the urine. Symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Pain in the lower back and genital area, or between the scrotum and rectum, and
  • Burning or painful urination

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is a bacterial infection that lasts more than three months. Unlike acute bacterial prostatitis, it does not occur suddenly, but gradually gets worse over time. Men with this condition may experience recurring bladder infections. Causes can include:

  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Stones in the bladder or prostate, or
  • Defects in the bladder or prostate that allow bacteria to persist in the urinary tract

Another form of prostatitis is called chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Men with this condition may experience pain in the pelvis or perineum, pain during urination and ejaculation, or other urinary symptoms. Although the exact cause of this type of prostatitis is unknown, nerve damage in the pelvic area may lead to these symptoms.

A final type of prostatitis is called asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. In this case, the patient experiences no symptoms, but infection-fighting white blood cells are present in the prostatic secretions. It is often diagnosed when a provider is testing for other urinary tract or reproductive tract disorders.

In most cases, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial prostatitis. Anti-inflammatory medications and analgesics may be used to treat chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Other treatment options include:

  • Pelvic floor physical therapy, called myofascial release
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which are a type of prescription medication
  • Stress reducers, and
  • A procedure known as percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation

The duration of the treatment can vary from several weeks to several months, depending on the specific diagnosis.