HOW TO DETECT AND TREAT AN INFECTION OF THE PROSTATE
The prostate is a gland found only in men that is responsible for the production of some of the fluids that make up semen. It’s located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder. It also surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries both semen and urine to the outside world via the penis). There are four conditions referred to as ‘prostatitis’ :
1) Acute bacterial prostatitis– This is the easiest to diagnose and treat. It is infection of the prostate caused by bacteria. It comes on suddenly and can have the following symptoms: chills, fever, pain in lower back and/or genitals, nausea, urinary frequency and urgency, burning or painful urination. This can be diagnosed by urinalysis which shows white blood cells and bacteria in the urine.
2) Chronic bacterial prostatitis– This occurs when bacteria are present in the prostate for a longer period of time. The most frequent sign of this is frequent urinary tract infections. Between these infections, there may or may not be symptoms including vague pain and urinary frequency.
3) Chronic prostatitis– This is the most common form of prostatitis but the least well understood. It has symptoms that come and go, including vague abdominal pain. This condition is usually a diagnosis of exclusion. That is, a doctor will likely perform multiple tests to rule out other possibilities before making this diagnosis..
4) Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis– This condition is often found accidentally as it doesn’t cause symptoms. There are inflammatory (infection fighting) cells in the prostate fluid and semen but without any demonstrable effects. A man should be evaluated by a physician as there are numerous possible causes of chronic pelvic pain.
Overview of Symptoms and signs that are typically experienced by men with prostatitis:
- Difficulties urinating; Most urinary problems are caused when the swollen prostate blocks the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body (urethra). Patients feel the need to urinate more often than usual, often urgently. Urination is sometimes painful. It is hard to start the flow of urine and difficult to totally empty the bladder.
- Pain; Besides pain when urinating, caused by prostate swelling, stimulation of nerves in the prostate gland may cause pain in the penis, one or both testicles, the lower stomach, the low back, and the area between the scrotum and the anus (perineum). Some patients experience pain during or after ejaculation, whenever they sit down or walk, or during bowel movements.
- Sex and fertility; The pain of prostatitis can make it difficult to enjoy sex. Men with prostatitis may be troubled by early release of sperm (premature ejaculation.) Occasionally there is blood in the semen.
If you have recurring prostate infections that don’t improve with treatment, see a physician who specializes in men’s urinary and reproductive health (urologist). Dr. Bellman is a leading expert in this field who can also look for any prostate or urinary system problems that would make you more vulnerable to infection. Examples of conditions that increase your risk of recurrent prostate infections include kidney stones, bladder stones and trouble emptying your bladder because of an enlarged prostate.
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