What is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis is an illness, which affects the gland called prostate. It performs many functions in the male body. One of its chief functions is the production of the liquid that ensures that the sperm is in healthy condition until it reaches the vagina. Apart from that, the prostate gland also protects males from various sorts of urinary infections.
Prostatitis refers to the swelling of the prostate gland. The term covers all the disorders of the prostate that share similar symptoms. Until sometime ago, it was thought that these symptoms were primarily the results of the bacterial infection of the prostate. However, the fact is that bacterial infection is responsible for only 5% of the prostatitis cases.
Doctors are very clear that bacterial prostatitis is caused by a certain kind of bacteria, mostly E.Coli, and it can be diagnosed quite easily. However, they have not been able to discover why some men suffer from the more prevalent non-bacterial type of prostatitis known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS). This variation of prostatitis persists for many weeks or more, and then it vanishes only to come back again. Around 90% of the men, who are told that they are suffering from prostatitis are in fact suffering from CPPS.
The Professional Guide to Diseases (9th ed.) asserts that about 1 in 3 men who are more than 50 years old, suffer from chronic prostatitis while 50% of men will develop prostatitis at some time or other.
Every year around 2 million people opt for treatment for prostatitis. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals that around 25% of the visits are made by young as well as middle-aged men in relation with prostatitis that involves the urogenital system.
Different kinds of Prostatitis
Presently, medical science has been able to detect four kinds of prostatitis. Each of these types induces certain kinds of symptoms. The following paragraphs explain the known variations of prostatitis:
According to NIH, prostatitis can be categorized into 4 types with each type having a few unique symptoms. The common symptoms range from trouble in beginning the urinary stream, burning sensation and/or pain while urinating, repeated nocturnal urination and dribbling after urination.
Type 1: Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
Though this type of prostatitis strikes rarely, it is the most critical form. The symptoms that are typical to it are pain in the pelvic region and pain during ejaculation.
It can occur at any age but middle-aged and elderly men are more prone to it. Since it is caused by bacteria, the infection can move around the body. This acute from of the disease also often comes with chills, nausea and vomiting. They are generally treated with antibiotics and require urgent medical assistance.
Type 2: Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
Just like acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis is also a result of bacterial infection. It can persist for months. The patients of this form suffer from urinary tract infections apart from the common symptoms. Antibiotics usually used for treating this type of prostatitis.
The long-term problems associated with this condition very often are poor quality of life, semen abnormalities, and impotence. However, the symptoms of this type of prostatitis are not consistent; there are times when the patients do not suffer from any symptoms at all. This feature makes this form very difficult to be diagnosed as the bacteria may not be evident in the urine all the time.
It has still not been established why some men are susceptible to chronic bacterial prostatitis while other men aren’t. According to a theory some men are more vulnerable to infections or the bacteria succeed in surviving in the prostates and doesn’t respond to the antibiotics.
Type 3: Chronic non-bacterial prostatitis / CPPS
The chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most prevalent form of prostatitis. The additional symptom that characterizes this form is appearance of blood in the urine.
This kind of prostatitis has been further divided into two forms:
First form 3A is more common, there is swelling in the prostate and increase in the white blood cell count in the gland.
Second form 3B type does not cause any inflammation in the prostate.
The patient is officially diagnosed with CPPS when the symptoms are noticed for minimum 3 months and they keep coming and going. Just as in the case of chronic bacterial prostatitis, the doctors are not sure as to what makes some men susceptible to CPPS.
A few experts suggest that this type of prostatitis is caused by germs that are not easily detected. Others believe that it may be caused by the poorly functioning muscles or nerves located in the prostate, a non-conforming immune system, uric acid and other substances that reach the prostate through blood and cause irritation to the gland.
Some patients find improvement in their condition without resorting to any treatment. Others revert to pain killers and avoid the symptom-triggering foods. Many practice prostate massage that improves the blood flow in the region and alleviates symptoms. Some men follow alternative treatments like exercises for relaxation and acupuncture. And if nothing works and the symptoms are too severe to endure, the patients may opt for TURP (Transurethral Resection of the Prostate) and TUMT (Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy).
Type 4: Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis
This type of prostatitis develops in men with already inflamed prostate and escalated PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) This type of condition doesn’t really have any specific symptoms and may be difficult to detect. When they are treated with antibiotics, the PSA levels of these patients become normal again within 4-6 weeks.