If your prostate is inflamed, this is known as prostatitis. This can affect men in different ways and there are four types of prostatitis, each with their own symptoms. While the symptoms of this inflammation are variable, it is important you receive the right diagnosis to start treatment. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and management of this inflammatory condition.
Acute bacterial prostatitis occurs least often, but is easily diagnosed and treated. This bacterial infection develops suddenly and makes urination painful. It is also difficult to empty your bladder, you may develop pain in your abdomen, lower back or pelvis, and you may experience a fever with chills. Chronic bacterial prostatitis develops less quickly and is less severe than the acute version. You will have repeated infections of your urinary tract with this form of prostatitis.
Chronic prostatitis arises most often, though its cause is unknown. It may occur due to an ongoing infection, inflammation or spasms in your pelvic muscles. Although symptoms are not always present, typical signs include pain in your pelvis and painful urination or ejaculation.
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis doesn't have any symptoms, despite your prostate being inflamed. Inflammation is identifiable though from a sample of urine, semen, or tissue or fluid from your prostate.
As the symptoms of prostatitis are similar to urinary tract infections and other problems affecting your urinary system, you should always seek medical advice, as otherwise your condition may go undetected and untreated.
It is important that prostatitis is diagnosed correctly so that it is treated correctly and other conditions causing similar symptoms are not ignored.
If your symptoms suggest acute prostatitis, you will need to provide a urine sample to check for bacteria. A rectal examination will also identify whether your prostate is inflamed, as your prostate sits in front of your rectum, allowing a doctor to easily feel your prostate for signs of enlargement or lumps. You may experience some discomfort during your rectal examination and the level of pain is also useful during diagnosis. Meanwhile, if your symptoms suggest chronic prostatitis, you may receive a blood test and rectal examination to exclude other conditions; samples of semen and fluid from your prostate may also be tested. Additionally, you may receive an ultrasound scan, CT scan or cystoscopy to help reach the right diagnosis.
With acute cases of bacterial prostatitis, you will usually need a fortnight's course of antibiotics, though sometimes you will need to take them for longer than this to completely clear the bacteria. However, you must comply fully with instructions for taking your antibiotics for them to work effectively, so even if your symptoms disappear before you finish the course, you must continue to take them. Occasionally, you may need a hospital stay to receive IV antibiotics.
Alternatively, with chronic bacterial prostatitis, you will need a longer course of antibiotics, lasting somewhere between 4 and 12 weeks. Unlike acute prostatitis, where nearly all cases are successfully cured following antibiotics, around three-quarters of cases resolve following treatment.This means that your symptoms may return, requiring further antibiotics. If this is the case, one option is a low dose of antibiotics continued in the long-term, though other treatment options are available if even this fails to prevent recurrence.
With a diagnosis of chronic prostatitis, antibiotics are not always necessary. You may instead receive an anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants to relieve muscle tightness and spasms. Prostatic massage, which releases the fluid causing increased pressure in your prostate, may also help. Whatever type of prostatitis you have, a range of measures offer symptom relief. For example, applying heat with the aid of a heat pad or hot water bottle may relieve discomfort, as may sitting on a pillow. Alternatively, if you avoid spicy foods or drinks that are acidic or contain caffeine, this may also help. One other step that can help provide relief from an inflamed prostate is to use relaxation exercises.
It is important to never ignore the signs of possible prostatitis. Early diagnosis allows you to receive prompt treatment to help manage your symptoms and clear the inflammation. However, if your symptoms are due to an alternative urological problem, seeking early testing allows this to be identified too. Don't delay making an appointment with Mr Mark Feneley to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment for your prostatitis.
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