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What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. It can affect any man, and it's a common cause of doctor visits for men of all ages, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

The symptoms

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the NIDDK, prostatitis can cause symptoms such as:

  • The need to urinate often.
  • Pain during urination.
  • Body aches.
  • Fever.
  • Lower back or groin pain.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • Erectile dysfunction.

The causes

Possible causes of prostatitis include:

  • Surgery or a biopsy.
  • A sexually transmitted disease.
  • Urine blockage.
  • An injury to the genitals.

Some cases of prostatitis have no known cause. Prostatitis may also happen as a result of a previous urinary tract infection.

Types of prostatitis

According to the NIDDK, there are several types of prostatitis:

Acute bacterial prostatitis is uncommon, but it's the easiest form to find and treat. It's caused by an infection.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is caused by both an infection and a problem with the prostate.

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common form of the disease. Unfortunately, it's also the form that researchers know the least about. Symptoms may come and go without warning. Often it has no clear cause.

Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis often causes no symptoms, and is found during tests for infertility or prostate cancer.

Treating prostatitis

See a doctor if you have symptoms of prostatitis. The symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other diseases, such as cancer, so your doctor will want to rule these out.

Your doctor will check for prostatitis by checking the prostate with a gloved finger. The doctor may also test your urine to look for an infection.

Cases of bacterial prostatitis are treated with antibiotics. According to the AAFP, other possible ways to ease symptoms include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, hot baths, and medicines that help the bladder and prostate work better.

Reviewed 5/19/2021

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