Prostatitis: Disorders of the Prostate

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Prostatitis may account for up to 25 percent of all office visits by young and middle-aged men for complaints involving the genital and urinary systems. The term prostatitis actually encompasses four disorders:

  • Acute bacterial prostatitis is the least common of the four types but also the easiest to diagnose and treat effectively. Men with this disease often have chills, fever, pain in the lower back and genital area, urinary frequency and urgency often at night, burning or painful urination, body aches, and a demonstrable infection of the urinary tract as evidenced by white blood cells and bacteria in the urine. The treatment is an appropriate antibiotic.

  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis, also relatively uncommon, is acute prostatitis associated with an underlying defect in the prostate, which becomes a focal point for bacterial persistence in the urinary tract. Effective treatment usually requires identifying and removing the defect and then treating the infection with antibiotics. However, antibiotics often do not cure this condition.

  • Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common but least understood form of prostatitis. It is found in men of any age, its symptoms go away and then return without warning, and it may be inflammatory or noninflammatory. In the inflammatory form, urine, semen, and other fluids from the prostate show no evidence of a known infecting organism but do contain the kinds of cells the body usually produces to fight infection. In the noninflammatory form, no evidence of inflammation, including infection-fighting cells, is present.

    Antibiotics will not help nonbacterial prostatitis. You may have to work with your doctor to find a treatment that's good for you. Changing your diet or taking warm baths may help. Your doctor may give you a medicine called an alpha blocker to relax the muscle tissue in the prostate. No single solution works for everyone with this condition.

  • Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is the diagnosis when the patient does not complain of pain or discomfort but has infection-fighting cells in his semen. Doctors usually find this form of prostatitis when looking for causes of infertility or testing for prostate cancer.

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The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1987, the clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NKUDIC answers inquiries, develops and distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.

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