What is prostatitis? Prostatitis refers to inflammation of the prostate gland. Note, this is not cancer. It is a very common condition affecting males over the age of 18. Prostatitis tends to occur in young and middle-aged males. The symptoms, though common are often not readily detected. Symptoms such as pain in the lower abdomen, perineum (area between anus and scrotum), testicles, penis, bladder pain, difficulty passing urine, and sometimes blood in the semen. Note that prostatitis does not cause impotency. There are two major forms, acute and chronic.
What are risk factors? Acute prostatitis risks include trauma such as bike riding (Training for the STP (Seattle to Portland bike ride)?), horseback riding, dehydration, and sexual abstinence. It can also occur if one has a chronic indwelling catheter. Most of the occasions of acute prostatitis are caused by bacterial infections.
What are the symptoms? The usual presentation is that of fever, chills, fatigue, pain on urination, pain in abdomen or lower, and cloudy urine. It is to be noted that these are similar symptoms for a bladder infection except for the fact that bladder infections are not common for males.
How is it diagnosed? Diagnosis includes the history as well as exam. The prostate typically feels swollen or “boggy”. The blood test called PSA( prostate specific antigen) may or may not be elevated. Treatment includes antibiotics. Anti-inflammatories also help to reduce the swelling. Antibiotics usually require four to six weeks to bring about cure. Rarely is hospitalization required. It is important to get treatment to help reduce the potential complications of chronic prostatitis as well as prostate abscess formation.
Chronic prostatitis should be considered in men who have pain on urination and frequency but not the symptoms of acute prostatitis, those who have recurrent urinary tract infections for no obvious cause, and for those who have chronic bacteria in the urine.
What are the symptoms? The symptoms of chronic prostatitis are more subtle than the acute phase. Patients may have no symptoms at all or may have some pain on urination or frequency, urgency etc. Exam may reveal a large prostate or be completely normal. Exam may also include prostatic massage, but this is not too popular.
What is the cause? The cause is usually bacterial infection. Obtaining fluid should be attempted as it will greatly help choose the proper antibiotic. The coarse needs to be at least four weeks of antibiotics.
The take home message is this: if you have any of these symptoms, get it checked out, as the condition may lead to a more chronic state that may become recurrent.
Dr. Frank Marinkovich owns and operates Eastside Family Health Center in Kirkland, WA. Serving Kirkland and the Eastside, Seattle, Bellevue, Renton and the surrounding local communities. Specializing in Primary Care, Automobile Accidents and FAA physicals. Visit them online at Eastside Family Health Center or call them at (425) 899-2525.
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