Chronic Prostatitis is a silent nuisance that can remain dormant for months, or even years, before manifesting into greater problems. In general, the condition involves the inflammation or swelling of the prostate gland itself. When the ailment lasts for more than a couple of weeks, it becomes Chronic Prostatitis, which is actually quite common in adult men of all ages and demographics.
Five percent of men experience the symptoms of this illness at some point in their lifetime, and up to 25% of men seek attention from a physician for symptoms indicative of the condition. Although the ailment itself cannot be prevented, there are treatment options available to ease the symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis and lead a normal life once again.
Major Types of Chronic Prostatitis
There are three major types of Chronic Prostatitis that a man may experience throughout the course of his adult life. There are no types that are necessarily worse than others, but each kind may require different treatment options to address the specific problems being experienced.
Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis is the first type of Prostatitis. It involves swelling and inflammation due to the presence of a bacterial infection. This type of the condition is easily diagnosable due to the presence of white blood cells and bacteria that can be found in urine samples. Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis accounts for very few cases of this chronic condition, although it is among the easiest types to detect.
Another type of this illness is referred to as Chronic Non-Bacterial Prostatitis, also referred to as Inflammatory Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. This condition involves the same symptoms as those of Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis, minus the presence of bacteria in the body. It has been found that some patients with this type of the illness may have a low-grade, persistent infection causing their discomfort. However, this cannot be proven, as there are no tests that indicate the small amount of bacteria that may exist in the body.
The last type of Chronic Prostatitis is Prostadynia, also called Non-Inflammatory Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. There is very little research that can solidly suggest what causes men to develop this problem, as it involves none of the inflammation and infection commonly found in cases of Chronic Prostatitis. Some suggestions to explain this condition include abnormal pressure in the urinary tract, irritation from chemical processes in the body and pain felt throughout the nerves and muscles of the pelvis.
Potential Sources of Chronic Prostatitis
Although there is no decisive evidence as to the exact causes of Chronic Prostatitis, there are suggestions that it is etiologically rooted in the reaction between psychological components and dysfunctional processes in the immune, endocrine and neurological systems. Infections are typically the number one cause of Prostatitis. There are numerous, obscure infectious agents that can be present in the body butdon’tshow up in the tests used to detect the condition. Although many believe that bacteria can only cause the bacterial type of Prostatitis, they would be mistaken. The non-bacterial form of the disorder is also thought to be linked to bacterial infections, even if it is not the primary cause of discomfort.
Physical activity is another major cause of Chronic Prostatitis. Lifting large objects, especially on a full bladder, can cause urine to be released into the prostate, leading to the onset of the condition. Additionally, jobs that expose a man’s prostate to extreme vibration, such as truck driving or operating heavy machinery, can also predispose someone to developing Chronic Prostatitis. Structural abnormalities are a less frequent, but still common, cause of prostate problems as well. Urinary tract dysfunction is a normal cause of Chronic Prostatitis, as increased pressure during urination can easily lead to the development of the ailment. Relatedly, the manner in which a man urinates can also cause problems. Urinating with the sphincter muscle clenched can increase pressure on the process, necessarily encouraging the development of Chronic Prostatitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis
Surprisingly, the symptoms associated with Acute Prostatitis are much more severe than those of Chronic Prostatitis. The indicative signs of both the bacterial and nonbacterial types of this illness are similar, although the bacterial condition involves expected symptoms such as fever that typically are associated with infection.
Because this type of Prostatitis is chronic, the signs and symptoms will appear slowly and will simply continue for a long period of time until they become prevalent enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.
Prostate pain, lower back pain and discomfort in the genital area are just some of the common signs that Chronic Prostatitis might be the issue. The pain associated with the ailment is typically the result of increased inflammation and pressure during urination. However, urination entails its own symptoms and signs that indicate the existence of the condition.
Difficulty while urinating, excessive urination, especially throughout the course of the night and occasional blood in urine are some of the most telling signs that a problem is prostate-related. Due to the involvement of the urinary tract in Chronic Prostatitis, frequent bladder infections are also a good indication that a doctor’s visit is necessary to address what may be wrong. This is especially true should these symptoms occur concurrently with a fever, as this is indicative of the presence of an infection either in the body in general or in the inflamed areas of the prostate gland itself.
Diagnosis Dilemma: Is Chronic Prostatitis Easy to Evaluate?
Luckily for those suffering from Chronic Prostatitis, diagnosis is a fairly simple, delineated process. The process begins with a description of any symptoms, lifestyle habits, medications or notable aspects of a person’s medical history that may be relevant to reach a proper diagnosis. This is required to rule out any other disorders that may mimic the common indicators of Chronic Prostatitis in order to reach a treatment plan proper for a person’s unique symptoms. After a preliminary diagnosis, a doctor will examine the prostate gland in the same way normal check-ups are conducted. Individuals suffering from Chronic Prostatitis may have a prostate gland that is swollen, firm, tender or, surprisingly, normal.
Further examination is required to indicate which type of Chronic Prostatitis an individual may have. Urine samples are the easiest way to do so because of the presence of white blood cells and bacteria in the bacterial form of the illness. Additionally, the non-bacterial type of Prostatitis will contain white blood cells, but no bacteria. For this reason, testing urine is one of the most telling signs of Chronic Prostatitis. In the rare instance that these tests are unable to clearly determine what is happening, a doctor will order additional tests such as an ultrasound or needle biopsy to more clearly find the culprit of an individual’s symptoms.
Treatment Options for Chronic Prostatitis
High doses of antibiotics are the most common form of treatment for Chronic Prostatitis. This is true for whatever type of Prostatitis an individual is diagnosed with, as many doctors fear for the low-grade infections that can lurk in all types of the disorder.
However, it is important to note that antibiotics alone typically don’t fully eliminate a problem. For those men that are not helped by antibiotics alone, a doctor may prescribe alpha-blockers, pain relievers and muscle relaxers to ease the pressure put on the muscles surrounding the prostate gland. These medications also work as anti-inflammatories, reducing the constant release of chemicals by the immune system that sustains the inflammation along the urinary tract.
Additionally, physical therapy involving exercise and biofeedback is beneficial to retain better control over the muscles around the prostate gland and ease the tension that has built up and contributed to the development of Chronic Prostatitis. Relatedly, an individual should limit their intake of caffeine and alcohol, reducing bladder and prostate irritation.
Possible Prognosis: What to Expect With Chronic Prostatitis
Due to the difficulty in curing all of the symptoms and components of this ailment, many men find themselves discouraged and anxious. Many people don’t respond to antibiotics or other treatments, leaving them with feelings of hopelessness as to ever finding relief from their symptoms and discomfort.
Although finding the right treatment can be difficult, it is important for men to remember that there are many effective treatments available to address the different factors related to Chronic Prostatitis. Constant contact with a physician is key in consideration of this fact, as they will be able to test out different methods until the right one is uncovered and put into effect. Should symptoms remain unresolved, however, there may be larger issues involved, necessitating the attention of a specialist.
It is not necessary for a man to live with prostate problems. Although the problems themselves are quite common, each individual case is unique, making it difficult to sometimes find the right solution. However, through constant contact with a doctor and dedication to recovery, a man can find the relief he needs and no longer be burdened by the chronic, troubling symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis.