What Is Prostatitis?
The prostate produces semen that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostatitis is a general term for inflammation of the prostate which can be, but isn’t always, directly caused by a bacterial infection. Prostatitis is most often treated with antibiotics, muscle relaxers or even a prostate massage. Prostatitis can come on gradually or suddenly. The majority of cases involve painful or difficult urination. More serious cases can involve pain or discomfort in the groin and/or genitals and even flu-like symptoms. The condition sometimes improves quickly, either on its own or with the help of supplements, or it may hang around for months. It may even keep recurring for months or years. Recurring cases are known as chronic prostatitis.
Nonbacterial chronic prostatitis (also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome or CPPS) affects men of all ages, but is more difficult to diagnose and treat than acute infectious prostatitis. Men with CPPS generally suffer from a number of symptoms, including chronic pelvic pain, pain in the penis, testicles, pain after ejaculation, burning with urination, and sensations of pressing and urgent urination.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Prostatitis?
An inflamed prostate can lead to a number of uncomfortable and painful symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of general prostatitis include the following:
- Painful urination, often described as a “burning sensation”
- Frequent urination, particularly during the night
- Urgency, or feeling the need to urinate
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Flu-like signs and symptoms (with bacterial prostatitis)
- Decreased libido
- Sexual impotence
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen, groin and/ or lower back
- Pain or discomfort near the genitals and/ or rectum
How Common Is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis is a common condition among men aged 20–50, although it is most common in middle-aged men. In fact, approximately 2 million men are diagnosed with prostatitis every year. Furthermore, 15 percent of men who visited a physician for genital pain and discomfort were diagnosed with prostatitis. Although the likelihood of a man experiencing prostatitis at least once in his lifetime is high, once a patient has experienced an episode of prostatitis, the risk of a recurring episode is significantly elevated. Despite the high prevalence of prostatitis, the condition is often misunderstood and lacks sufficient research. Many physicians and urologists claim that prostatitis is often misdiagnosed due to its variety of syndromes and characteristics, ranging from acute bacterial prostate infections to more complex conditions that extend well beyond inflammation of the prostate.
Prostatitis Diagnosis and Treatment
What is perhaps more frustrating than the pain is that physical examinations frequently fail to reveal the exact cause of pain. Antibiotics have historically been the most common treatment, with natural approaches only recently becoming more popular. Although cultures and microscopic examinations of urine and prostatic secretions may help pinpoint the specific cause of prostatitis and the best treatment, many patients are subjected to antibiotics for three to four weeks while some require treatment for several months! Overuse of antibiotics is now associated with a wide range of negative health outcomes. What’s worse is that the majority of men who spend months on antibiotics aren’t 100 percent cured, and will experience recurring symptoms after ceasing use of antibiotics. As a result, many frustrated men are looking into other options, including more natural approaches.