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The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland located directly below the bladder in men. Its job is to produce the fluid that transports and nourishes sperm (semen). When a man’s prostate becomes swollen or inflamed, he has prostatitis. Prostatitis is temporary, and it is not to be confused with an enlarged prostate. According to the Mayo Clinic, prostatitis is most common in men under the age of 50, although it can occur at any age. To learn more about prostatitis, read the symptoms, causes, and treatments listed below.

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Symptoms

Prostatitis symptoms may vary depending on the cause. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • An urgent need to urinate
  • Difficulty urinating, such as dribbling or hesitant urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Pain the groin, abdomen, or lower back
  • Pain between the scrotum and rectum (perineum)
  • Bloody urine or bloody semen
  • Pain in the penis or testicles
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, muscle aches, joint pain
  • Rectum pain, feeling like you need to have a bowel movement
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Types of prostatitis

There are four types of prostatitis, and each type presents with different symptoms. These four categories are:

  1. Acute bacterial prostatitis. This kind of infection is usually caused by common strains of bacteria from the bladder or kidneys which have found their way into the prostate. This type of prostatitis usually presents with flu-like symptoms.
  2. Chronic bacterial prostatitis. Recurrent bacterial infections mark this type of prostatitis. It can be difficult to treat.
  3. Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. The majority of prostatitis cases are of this nature, yet it is the least understood. Symptoms can come go, or they may remain for long periods of time. The cases are defined as inflammatory or noninflammatory based on how many infection-fighting cells are found in the urine and semen.
  4. Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. In this type of prostatitis, patients do not experience symptoms but do have infection-fighting cells present in the urine and semen.
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Causes

Depending on the type of prostatitis, it may be caused by different things. Bacteria may find its way into the prostate, causing acute or chronic bacterial prostatitis. Another thing which may cause prostatitis includes sexually transmitted diseases. Sometimes, the cause is unknown.

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Risk Factors

Men who are most at risk for developing prostatitis include:

  • Between the ages of 35 and 50
  • Recently had a urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • An indwelling urinary catheter
  • Men who have had prostatitis in the past
  • Pelvic trauma
  • Men with HIV/AIDS
  • Men who have had a prostate biopsy
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Treatment

If a bacterial infection causes prostatitis, antibiotics are used to treat it. In some cases, the patient will need to be hospitalized until the condition improves.

People with chronic prostatitis may need to look into the management of their conditions with lifestyle changes. Treatments may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory agents. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help you to manage the pain.
  • Alpha blockers. These medications help to relax the muscles around the bladder and prostate, easing the pain you may feel with urination.
  • Alternative treatments. There is no scientific evidence that herbal medicine can treat prostatitis, although some people report relief using these preparations.
  • Acupuncture and massage. Prostate massage may improve symptoms in patients with nonbacterial prostatitis. Some people have also reported a decrease in symptoms with acupuncture.
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Outlook

Acute prostatitis normally goes away with a course of antibiotics. Without treatment, prostatitis can lead to complications such as acute urinary retention or prostate abscess.

Chronic prostatitis is more difficult to treat because in many cases the cause is unknown. Sometimes it can be treated, only to return later on.

According to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, there is no evidence that having prostatitis increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.

For more information on prostatitis, contact your healthcare provider.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.