Inflamed prostate causes pain and urination problems
The prostate is a small gland between a man’s penis and bladder, which is responsible for producing fluid that contains semen. Prostatitis is when the prostate becomes inflamed or tender. Men at risk for this condition are those 36 to 50 years old, and particularly those who have had prostatitis before. You might also be at risk if you have had a groin injury, urinary tract infection (UTI) or urinary catheter. Men who’ve had a prostate biopsy or have HIV/AIDS are also at greater risk for prostatitis. Keep in mind that prostatitis is not the same as an enlarged prostate and is not necessarily going to lead to prostate cancer.
Understanding the four types of prostatitis
There are four types of prostatitis, usually categorized as acute (comes on suddenly) or chronic (long-term recurrence). They are:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis – when bacteria from the kidneys, bladder and connecting tubes reach the prostate and cause infection
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis – when a bacterial infection, possibly caused by a UTI or acute bacterial prostatitis, lasts for several months
- Chronic prostatitis (CP)/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) – when there are no bacteria present but symptoms are similar to bacterial prostatitis; may be caused by immune disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, or chronic fatigue
- Asymptomatic prostatitis – when the prostate is inflamed but you have no symptoms; condition may be found during a blood test to check the health of your prostate
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of prostatitis
You may have certain symptoms involving urination, such as:
- Pain or burning (dysuria)
- Difficulty urinating
- Having to pee frequently, especially at night (nocturia)
- Having cloudy or bloody urine
Other symptoms you might have include:
- Abdominal, lower back or groin pain
- Pain in the testicles or penis
- Pain with ejaculation
- Pain between the scrotum and rectum (perineum)
With bacterial prostatitis, you may also have fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms.
Diagnosis and treatment of prostatitis
Your doctor will perform a complete physical exam and review of your medical history while also going over your symptoms. To determine whether you have prostatitis, the doctor may perform a digital rectal exam (DRE), which involves insertion of a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for tenderness and swelling. You may also need to have a urine test for the presence of infection and a semen test for sperm count and behavior.
Treatment depends on what type of prostatitis you have. If there is infection, you may need antibiotics. Your doctor may also recommend medication for relief from pain and other symptoms. If you are having difficulty urinating, alpha blockers may be needed to help stimulate urine production.