Prostatitis is the condition in which the prostate gland becomes swollen or inflamed. Due to the positioning of the prostate gland, the swelling can cause urinary issues, including pain during urination. The condition can cause significant groin pain, along with sometimes manifesting flu-like symptoms.
Unlike prostate enlargement, prostatitis can affect men at any age and generally affects those 50 or younger. While one of the most prominent causes of prostatitis is a bacterial infection of the prostate, the cause is often unidentified. This infection can potentially spread to the epididymis and cause epididymitis. In cases where the infection is the cause, a course of antibiotics is generally the appropriate treatment.
Prostatitis and its symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually intensify over time. In some cases, the condition will resolve of its own accord, while in others, it can last for several months and recur over time. Chronic prostatitis can continue to recur after effective treatment.
There are many different symptoms of prostatitis that can vary depending on the cause of the condition. Symptoms can include:
- Pain during urination
- Frequent urination or difficulty urinating
- Cloudy urine or blood in the urine
- Abdominal or groin pain
- Penis or testicle pain or discomfort
- Painful ejaculations
- Flu-like symptoms
Because the symptoms of prostatitis are similar to those displayed in many other urinary conditions, diagnosis involves testing to rule out other possibilities. The physician will ask the patient about their symptoms, urination habits, and medical history. A physical rectal exam will likely also be necessary.
A urine test will be necessary to check for infection and other conditions. A blood test can also be required to evaluate the blood for signs of other prostate conditions. Imagining tests such as a CT scan can show several issues with the urinary tract and prostate.
Following these tests, further testing may be necessary to determine the type of prostatitis present, such as acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
Depending on the type and extent of prostatitis, a physician can recommend several different types of treatment. In cases of bacterial infection, antibiotics can treat the condition. In other cases, medication can help to relieve symptoms.
Antibiotics are the most common treatment for prostatitis. The specific antibiotic used can vary depending on the type of bacteria causing the infection. In general, oral antibiotics will be administered for a course of four to six weeks. This could be longer in cases of chronic or recurring prostatitis. When severe symptoms are present, intravenous antibiotics may be necessary.
In cases where bacterial infection has not been identified as the cause, doctors can prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of prostatitis. Alpha-blockers relax the muscles around the prostate and bladder neck to allow for urine to flow more easily. That can relieve many of the urinary symptoms, including pain during urination.
Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to relieve some of the pain and discomfort caused by prostatitis. They are commonly prescribed in cases where pain is a significant symptom.