Doctors diagnose acute prostatitis when a man’s prostate becomes inflamed suddenly. The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland located just below the bladder in males. It is responsible for forming semen, the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostatitis typically makes urination difficult and causes pain. It can also cause flu-like symptoms. The condition usually affects men 50 years of age and younger, but can also develop in older men.
Bacterial Causes of Acute Prostatitis
Bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also cause acute bacterial prostatitis, including Klebsiella, Proteus, and Escherichia. In addition, bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause acute bacterial prostatitis as well.
Other Causes of Acute Prostatitis
Certain conditions or ailments can lead to acute prostatitis as well: inflammation of the urethra, injury to the space between the scrotum and rectum, using urinary catheters, cystoscopy, or inflammation of the epididymis, the tube that connects your vas deferens and testicles. The condition can also be caused by bladder outlet obstruction, which can occur due to bladder stones or an enlarged prostate.
Symptoms of Acute Prostatitis
The symptoms of prostatitis you experience will depend on the cause of the condition. You may experience pain or a burning sensation when urinating, a need to urinate frequently at night, difficulty urinating, and bloody or cloudy urine. You may have pain in your lower back, groin, or abdomen, the testicles or penis, or in the space between the scrotum and rectum. Ejaculation may also be painful for people with acute prostatitis. Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills, could develop if the cause is a bacterial infection.
Possible Complications of Acute Prostatitis
Acute prostatitis can cause complications such as blood infections (bacteremia), inflammation of the epididymis — a coiled tube which attaches to the back of the testes — semen abnormalities, and a prostatic abscess or pus-filled cavity in the prostate. There’s no evidence to suggest that acute prostatitis can result in prostate cancer.
Risk Factors for Acute Prostatitis
Factors that put you at higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, and urethritis also put you at higher risk for developing prostatitis. These include having multiple sex partners, not drinking enough fluids, having unprotected oral or vaginal intercourse, and using urinary catheters. Other factors such as urinary tract infections, psychological stress, HIV or AIDS, a history of prostatitis, having inflammation in your testicles, and pelvic injury from horseback or bike riding also raise your risk of developing the infection.
When to See a Doctor
You should make an appointment with your doctor if you experience difficult or painful urination, pelvic pain, or painful ejaculations. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment for acute prostatitis as soon as possible because, left untreated, prostatitis can lead to other medical complications. Untreated bacterial prostatitis can also result in more serious infections.
Acute Prostatitis Diagnosis
When diagnosing acute prostatitis, your doctor must rule out other possible causes for your symptoms and determine the cause of your prostatitis. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He will likely do a physical examination, including a digital rectal exam (DRE). Other possible tests include a urine or blood tests to check for bacteria.
Treatment for Acute Prostatitis
If you have acute bacterial prostatitis, you’ll need to take antibiotics for four to six weeks. If prostatitis recurs, you may need to be on a longer course of antibiotics. The specific medication you’ll take depends on the type of bacteria. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms associated with the condition; these can help relax the bladder and ease pain. People with severe cases of acute prostatitis, such as if the urethra becomes blocked by the prostate gland, may need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous medications.
Home Remedies for Acute Prostatitis
Seek medical treatment if you think you have acute prostatitis. In addition, however, you can treat the condition with some home remedies that can relieve symptoms. Avoid activities like cycling that put pressure on your prostate gland, reduce or avoid eating spicy foods, take hot baths, and use a cushion to pad your seat. Furthermore, avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol, as these can irritate your bladder.
Preventing Recurrent Acute Prostatitis
Sometimes acute prostatitis recurs or turns into chronic prostatitis. Lifestyle changes may reduce this risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, using protection during sexual intercourse, avoiding processed foods, and eating a healthy diet can all help prevent the condition. Also, take measures to protect yourself against pelvic trauma and injury, and ejaculate regularly.