Prostatitis Explained

More information than ever is available these days about prostate health, yet many men find themselves uninformed when it comes to one of the most common prostate conditions, prostatitis, a disease of the prostate gland.

More than half of the men in the world can expect to get prostatitis at least once during their lifetime, according to a recent survey about the condition. It is believed that prostatitis accounts for as much as 25 percent of doctor visits for genital and urinary problems by younger and middle-aged men.

Symptoms can include fever, chills, and pain, at times severe, in the abdomen, lower back and genital area.

Other symptoms:

  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • Difficulty urinating, such as dribbling or hesitant urination.
  • Frequent urination, particularly at night
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Pain in the area between the penis and the rectum (perineum)
  • Pain or discomfort in the penis or testicles
  • Painful ejaculations

Types include acute bacterial, chronic bacterial and non-bacterial prostatitis:

  • Acute bacterial prostatitis comes on suddenly and can have severe symptoms.
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis may have no symptoms other than those of a recurring urinary tract infection.
  • Non-bacterial prostatitis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the prostate gland with no known cause.

Antibiotics are used to treat all forms of the disease, but antibiotic treatment has the best results with bacterial types. Treatments for non-bacterial prostatitis can include antihypertensive, prostate shrinking and anti-inflammatory medications.

It's important to note that prostatitis is a non-cancerous condition, and there is little if any evidence that prostate cancer and prostate infection are linked. However, a person can suffer from both conditions at the same time.

Other results form the survey:

  • 84 percent of survey respondents had never heard of prostatitis
  • 16 percent of those with some knowledge of prostatitis believed that both men and women can develop prostatitis. (Only men get prostatitis)
  • 60 percent of women with knowledge of prostatitis know that antibiotics are used to treat prostatitis, but many (58 percent) falsely believe that surgery and chemotherapy (39 percent) are appropriate treatments for the condition

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This story was supplemented with information from The Men's Health Network.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times