Prostatitis: What is It, and How Do I Know if I Have It?

ProstatitisWHAT IS PROSTATITIS?

First, prostatitis is not cancer (in case you were worrying!). The word means inflammation of the prostate, which means that your prostate is irritated and swollen. If you are confused about the prostate, click here (hyperlink to about your prostate)

Your next question is probably, “But why?” Well, it depends. There are several types of prostatitis, so the symptoms vary a bit. Read on to learn more about prostatitis symptoms, causes, and treatment.

WHAT CAUSES PROSTATITIS?

Prostatitis is one of the most common urinary problems that men have. It’s more common in men under 50, but any man can develop it.

There are several types of prostatitis, and the causes vary. It’s possible that Dr. Bevan-Thomas won’t be able to tell what caused yours, however there is usually a solution.

Prostatitis can be acute or chronic. Acute cases come on suddenly and are usually caused by a bacterial infection. This type of prostatitis usually responds to antibiotics.

In chronic cases, the symptoms can come and go, or they can be constant. It’s often hard to find a cause for chronic prostatitis. It could be caused by an immune reaction to a urinary tract infection or inflammation from irritation of the pelvis and the pelvic muscles around the area of the prostate.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATITIS?

Because there are several types of prostatitis, there are many different symptoms. No one will have all the symptoms on this list, but your symptoms might include:

  • Pain in the lower back, lower abdomen, penis, or scrotum.
  • Pain in the perineum (the area between the scrotum and rectum).
  • Pain or burning with urination.
  • Needing to urinate more often or more urgently than usual.
  • Needing to go urinate at night more than usual.
  • Changes in your urine stream—a weak stream, starting and stopping, etc.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms—fevers, chills, and body aches.
  • Inability to empty the bladder completely.

ARE THERE COMPLICATIONS OF PROSTATITIS?

Yes. They can include:

  • Abscess—a collection of pus in the prostate.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Abnormalities in your semen or infertility (with chronic prostatitis).
  • Bacteremia/sepsis—a bacterial infection of the blood or the immune system’s reaction to it (with bacterial prostatitis).

These prostatitis complications can be severe. If you have urinary symptoms that are more than a little bothersome, make an appointment right away.

HOW IS PROSTATITIS DIAGNOSED?

Dr. Bevan-Thomas will first assess whether this is caused by one or more bacteria or a virus. Recently, with the help of identifying DNA fragments through RT-PCR testing, it is now possible to detect whether the prostatitis is from a bacteria or a virus. Dr. Bevan-Thomas currently uses the Pathnostics Test located in his clinic at Urology Partners in Arlington to detect whether there is any DNA present in the urine. This is important because regular urine cultures can miss not only viruses but also many bacteria. Knowing the cause of the problem is the first step in solving the problem. 

However, many men will only have the inflammatory prostatitis with no offending virus or bacteria. For these men, Dr. B-T will focus primarily on the inflammatory process itself and not prescribe antibiotics.

TREATMENT

Stop the inflammation! Whether it is secondary to a bacteria or a virus, the inflammation must be treated to improve the symptoms ASAP. Dr. Bevan-Thomas recommends the following for many of his patients to improve symptoms quickly.

  • Epsom salt baths. Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate, which helps relax the surrounding pelvic muscles in the pelvis for quick relief along with the hot water.
  • Cranberry extract. Cranberries contain a compound called proanthocyanidin, which prevents E. coli from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract. It’s like rock-climbing on a rainy day. The juice won’t help, though, so stick to the pills.
  • Fluids. Drink 2-3 liters of water a day, and no, coffee and alcohol don’t count.
    NSAIDS. Naproxen and Ibuprofen work great but should be taken regularly for at least 5 days. Ask Dr. B-T for further details.
  • Medrol Dosepak (in select patients). Stops inflammation in its tracks.
  • Other home remedies may have some benefit, but realize that not everyone with prostatitis needs antibiotics to get better.
  • More complex cases require further treatment

WHY IT PAYS TO SEE A PROSTATE EXPERT

Prostatitis can be easy to misdiagnose. Because the cause of prostate symptoms isn’t always clear, doctors will often diagnose prostatitis because it’s the most likely option. For this reason, it’s best to see a Urologist to see if you’re having prostate or urinary symptoms. Many doctors give patient antibiotics hoping for a good response, but often this complicates the issue even further.

Dr. Bevan-Thomas has the expertise and determination to get to the bottom of your symptoms and ensure that you get the correct diagnosis. He will then discuss your treatment options with you in clear, easy-to-understand terms.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Dr. Bevan-Thomas has the expertise and determination to get to the bottom of your symptoms and ensure that you get the correct diagnosis. He will then discuss your treatment options with you in clear, easy-to-understand terms.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bevan-Thomas, just click on the button below.

Urologist Dr. Richard Bevan-Thomas of Urology Partners
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