Inflammation of the prostate is called Prostatitis. Prostatitis can be caused by a number of things, including an infection (possibly from a Urinary Tract Infection-UTI), stress, other health problems related to the immune system or nervous system, pressure on the prostate caused by a problem with surrounding tissue, or damage to the prostate from a severe injury. There is some evidence to suggest that some people have a genetic tendency to develop inflammation of the prostate.
The simplest (and least common) cause by far is a bacterial infection (Acute Prostatitis). Doctors typically treat a bacterial infection of the prostate with antibiotics, although if that does not work and the infection, or part of the infection, survives, it can become chronic prostatitis, which is treated with another round of antibiotics. If you have a UTI, it’s important that you treat it immediately in order to help prevent the spread of the infection to your prostate, or up the urinary tract (toward the kidneys) which is a more serious infection. Drinking plenty of water, urinating frequently, and keeping your genitals clean and dry are all ways to help avoid a urinary tract infection.
A prostate infection can also be caused by bacteria from other sources, such as a sexually transmitted infection. If you change sexual partners, or have reason to suspect you may have contracted a STI, make sure to get tested so that you get early treatment and avoid complications such as Prostatitis. (Side note: some sexually transmitted diseases such as Hep C may take up to 6 months to become detectable, so if you are concerned about your potential risk, get a follow up test about 6 months after the initial one, or if you change partners frequently/are frequently exposed to blood, every couple of months).
If the Prostatitis is not caused by an infection, but some other factor (listed above), it is often harder to diagnose and treat, so a doctor may give you an anti-inflammatory medication and help you to manage symptoms with things such as pain medication (see below for some natural alternatives).
Prostatitis Symptoms include:
- Intense pain, particularly in the lower back or between your legs
- Pain and complications urinating and/or ejaculating
- Infertility (the Prostate Gland is involved with the production of semen)
Signs of a Bacterial Infection:
- See signs of a UTI, for a possible early warning
- Fever & Chills
Chronic Prostatitis symptoms can be constant or cycle, and often involve chronic pain. Symptoms may appear milder but last or recur for three or more months.
Prostatitis symptoms appear similar to the symptoms of other diseases, such as UTIs and Prostate Cancer, so see your doctor for a proper diagnoses.
To relieve Prostatitis symptoms in the mean time, try relaxing and avoiding stress, in particular you can relax your lower half with a warm bath. Avoid putting too much pressure on the region by sitting on something soft (depending on the severity you may even opt for an inflatable cushion). It may also help to ejaculate and urinate frequently, even if this is difficult to accomplish, in order to clear out bacteria build up (as part of this, drink plenty of water). Finally, you may want to consider dietary changes, including more anti-inflammatory foods, and other suggestions your doctor may make depending on your specific symptoms and possible causes. It may be wise to take steps to strengthen your immune system as this can be a factor in the development of prostatitis, and to identify and eliminate any other health problems that may be causing the inflammation.
Sometimes a doctor might discover that you have Prostitis (that your Prostate is inflamed) but you may not have symptoms (Asymptomatic Prostatitis). In this case, it’s still important to try and reduce the inflammation since it can produce the same antigens as Prostate Cancer, making it harder to identify Prostate Cancer’s presence.