Prostatitis is the general term used to describe a series of disorders, ranging from acute bacterial infection to chronic pain syndrome, in which the prostate gland is inflamed.
It is a common condition which may affect up to 3 in 20 men at some time in their lives. It can affect men of any age but it is more common in men aged between 30 and 50.
The symptoms vary from man to man but can include problems passing urine and pain or discomfort around your testicles, back passage, or lower abdomen.
The prostate is a gland about the size and shape of a walnut. It is situated just underneath the urinary bladder and surrounds a portion of urethra. It sits in front of the rectum, and the back portion of the organ can be felt during rectal examination by a health care practitioner.
The prostate’s purpose is to help with the male reproductive system. It makes up to 70% of the fluid that is ejaculated during intercourse, mixing its secretions with the sperm that are made in the testicles. The prostate also contracts at the time of ejaculation to prevent retrograde (or backward) flow of semen into the bladder.
Because of its location, the symptoms of any prostate problem tend to be associated with the bladder and can include urgency to urinate, frequency of urination, burning with urination, poor urine flow, or inability to begin a urine stream.
At one time, prostatitis was believed to be a sexually transmitted disease, but more recent research suggests that only a small number of cases are passed on through sex.
Certain conditions and medical procedures increase the risk of developing prostatitis. You are at higher risk for getting prostatitis if you:
- Recently have had a medical instrument, such as a urinary catheter (a soft, lubricated tube used to drain urine from the bladder) inserted during a medical procedure.
- Engage in rectal intercourse.
- Have an abnormal urinary tract.
- Have had a recent bladder infection.
- Have an enlarged prostate.
You may have no symptoms of prostatitis or symptoms so sudden and severe that you seek emergency medical care.
When present, symptoms include:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain or burning during urination
- Chills and fever
The prostate may swell, causing a less forceful urine stream. Sometimes blood in the urine and painful ejaculation are other symptoms of prostatitis. Men may also complain of pelvic pain, pain during ejaculation, and pain with sexual intercourse.
If your physician suspects that you have prostatitis or another prostate problem, he or she may refer you to a urologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system) to confirm the diagnosis.
Patients typically undergo a comprehensive exam, including a digital rectal exam. The doctor will be able to evaluate whether the prostate gland is enlarged or tender. Then, if the doctor is still not sure what you have, more tests may be done, such as a prostate fluid analysis for signs of infection, transrectal ultrasound, biopsy or voiding studies. Voiding studies involve the collection and analysis of urine to determine which part of the urinary system is infected.
Types & Symptoms of Prostatitis
Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
Acute bacterial prostatitis is an infection of the prostate that is often caused by some of the same bacteria that cause bladder infections. These include E. coli, Klebsiella, and Proteus. While it may be acquired as a sexually transmitted disease, the infection can also spread to the prostate through the blood stream, directly from an adjacent organ, or as a complication of prostate biopsy.
Symptoms include fever, chills, and shakes. Commonly there is urgency and frequency of urination and painful or difficult urination.
Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an uncommon illness in which there is an ongoing bacterial infection in the prostate. Chronic bacterial prostatitis generally causes no symptoms; however, on occasion, the low grade infection may flare and be associated with a bladder infection.
Chronic Prostatitis without Infection
Chronic prostatitis without infection, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is a condition where there is recurrent pelvic, testicle, or rectal pain without evidence of bladder infection. There may be difficulties with painful urination or ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction. The cause of chronic prostatitis without infection is not clearly understood.
Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is exactly as its name describes. There are no symptoms. The cause of asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is not clearly understood.
How to Cure Prostatitis?
Prostatitis affects 50% of men at some time during their lifetime. However, there are steps you can take to prevent prostatitis and help beat the odds.
- Achieve and Maintain Healthy Weight.
- Avoid Food Additives and Preservatives.
- Cut Out Wheat. There are anecdotal reports that cutting out wheat products from the diet can reduce, eliminate, or prevent prostatitis symptoms.
- Try Probiotics. Use of probiotics or beneficial bacteria, may be helpful for men who have bacterial prostatitis.
- Choose Plant Protein Over Animal Protein.
- Watch Your Fat Intake. Focus on eating a low-fat diet rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids rather than saturated and trans fats to promote a healthy prostate.
- Don’t Hold It. Resisting the urge to urinate can not only make prostatitis symptoms worse, it can also result in development of urinary tract infections and inflammation.
- Drink Green Tea. It contains catechins, potent antioxidants that work to regulate the production and activities of hormones and also fight inflammation and the risk of infection in prostatitis.
- Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables.
- Exercise. Get off the couch and keep moving. Regular physical exercise helps prevent inflammation and the development of prostatitis.
- Hydrate Yourself. Stay hydrated by drinking pure water throughout the day, and you can help avoid dehydration and urinary tract infections, which are risk factors for prostatitis.
- Limit Alcohol Use. Alcohol can irritate the prostate and bladder, which in turn can worsen prostatitis symptoms. If you must drink, limit yourself to one alcoholic drink daily.
- Limit Caffeine and Spicy Foods. Two common irritants of the prostate and bladder are caffeine and spicy foods.
- Sex. Maintaining a healthy sex life is one great way to promote prostate health and also help fight prostatitis. In fact, ejaculation two to three times a week can be especially helpful for prostatitis, especially if you are taking antibiotics.
- Consider Natural Supplements. Various nutritional and herbal supplements have been shown to support prostate health and assist with management of prostatitis health. Some of those supplements include beta-sitosterol,cranberry, curcumin, DIM, green tea extract, pollen, pygeum africanum, quercetin, saw palmetto, stinging nettle, and vitamin D. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.
- Avoid Constipation. Maintaining a high-fiber and staying hydrated can help you avoid constipation. Straining to eliminate can cause irritation and trigger prostatitis symptoms if the prostate is inflamed.
- Enjoy Cranberry Juice. Best known for its role in preventing urinary tract infections, cranberry juice has compounds that that make it difficult for bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract and promote infection.
- Practice Good Hygiene. To help avoid infection, be sure to keep the penis and surrounding area clean with soap and water.
- Zinc helps to counter prostatitis. Consume zinc rich food items like oysters, shellfish, yeast, wheat germ, wheat bran, eggs, pine nuts, pecan nuts, cashew nuts, parmesan cheese, etc.
- Consume food cooked generously in olive oil. This is a way to prevent prostatitis.
- Take 1 teaspoon palmetto oil twice daily. This is highly beneficial in treating prostatitis.
- Grind pumpkin seeds in to fine powder. Take a spoonful of the powder twice daily. This is an effective home remedy for prostatitis.
- Consume tomato salads daily. Tomatoes cleanse your prostate of infectious bacteria.
- Consumption of juniper berries and parsley on daily basis reduces prostate inflammation.
- Taking alternate hot and cold hipbaths every 10 minutes relieves prostatitis pain.
- Intake of garlic and goldenseal works excellently in treating prostatitis.
- Blend 300 ml carrot juice and 200 ml spinach juice and drink the mixture daily. This helps to get rid of prostatitis.
- Combine 3 teaspoons each of gravel root, hydrangea root and sea holly. Boil the combination in water to make herbal tea. Drink the tea twice everyday to do away with this condition.
- Take 1 teaspoon powdered watermelon seed daily to get relief from prostatitis.
- Sitting on a pillow eases the discomfort caused by prostatitis.
- Take multi-vitamin supplements. Vitamin A, C and E are needed for curing this problem.