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Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. It is actually a group of conditions that affect the prostate, a walnut-sized gland found just under the bladder in men. The prostate produces part of seminal fluid, the fluid that helps carry sperm out of the body when men ejaculate. Prostatitis can cause pain and problems urinating. There are four major types of prostatitis:
Symptoms and treatment vary depending on what type of prostatitis you have.
Signs and Symptoms
In general, symptoms may include:
In addition, specific types of prostatitis can cause these symptoms:
Acute bacterial prostatitis:
Chronic bacterial prostatitis:
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis:
Similar to chronic bacterial prostatitis, but without fever.
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis:
No symptoms; usually discovered when undergoing tests for other problems.
What Causes It?
As its name suggests, bacterial prostatitis is caused by bacteria. Researchers aren’t sure what causes chronic nonbacterial prostatitis or asymptomatic prostatitis. Injury to the prostate, or problems with the immune or nervous systems, may contribute to chronic nonbacterial prostatitis.
What to Expect at Your Provider's Office
Your doctor will take a medical history and ask you about your symptoms. Your doctor will do a digital rectal exam, examining your prostate by inserting a lubricated finger into your rectum. Lab tests, including urinalysis, semen sample, or blood cultures, may be ordered. Your doctor may suggest you see a urologist, a specialist who treats urinary tract problems.
Bacterial prostatitis -- oral antibiotics, taken for several weeks. In some severe cases, you may need intravenous (IV) antibiotics. Other medications may include stool softeners and pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil).
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis -- In addition to pain relievers, alpha blockers, which help relax the bladder may help if you have trouble urinating. Alpha blockers include alfuzosin (Uroxatral) and doxazosin (Cardura). Side effects can include headaches and low blood pressure.
In severe cases of bacterial prostatitis, you may need surgery.
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Be sure to let all of your doctors know about any herbs or supplements you take, or any alternative therapies you use. Some herbs, supplements, and alternative therapies may interfere with conventional medicine. Work with a doctor who is experienced in complementary and alternative therapies to find the right mix of treatments for you.
Nutrition and Supplements
Drink plenty of water (48 oz. a day). Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. These supplements may help:
Herbs are a way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to diagnose your problem before starting any treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. of herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink two to four cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.
Some of the most common remedies used for prostatitis are listed below. The usual dose is three to five pellets of a 12X to 30C remedy every 1 - 4 hours until your symptoms improve.
Kegel exercises increase improve pelvic muscle tone. They may help some men reduce urinary symptoms. These exercises involve tightening and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. To identify the muscles, it may help to think of the muscles you use to stop and start a stream of urine, or to keep from passing gas. Tighten muscles for a count of 10, then relax for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times, and do 5 - 10 sets daily.
Contrast sitz baths: You will need two basins that you can sit in comfortably. Fill one basin with hot water, one with cold water. Sit in hot water for 3 minutes, then in cold water for 1 minute. Repeat this three times to complete one set. Do one to two sets a day, 3 - 4 days a week. Avoid sitz baths if you have acute bacterial prostatitis.
Acupuncture may improve urinary flow and decrease swelling and inflammation in some men with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis.
Be sure you follow your health care provider's instructions for treatment, and keep using the treatment as directed even if you start to feel better.
Men should have a yearly prostate examination after age 40, even if they have no symptoms of prostate problems. In recurring cases, you may need ongoing treatment with periodic checkups.
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Review Date: 4/9/2012
Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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