Prostatitis is a condition in which there is inflammation of the prostate. The prostate is a reproductive gland that is about the size of a walnut and is found underneath the bladder in males. The urethra, a tube that carries urine and semen, runs through the prostate. The prostate is important for normal ejaculation and the production of fluid that supports sperm survival. Prostatitis is divided into multiple types based on the cause, duration, and symptoms. The inflammation of the prostate may be caused by infection or may not have a specific cause (idiopathic). Prostatitis can range in duration from a few weeks to the lifetime of an affected individual.
Individuals affected by prostatitis often experience pain in the lower abdomen or back. Individuals may experience frequent urge to urinate, difficulty urinating, or blood in their urine (hematuria). Other symptoms include sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, fatigue, depression, and other general health problems. Prostatitis is usually diagnosed by urine samples, examination of the prostate gland, and imaging studies.
Prostatitis is most common in young to middle aged men, although it can affect men of any age. Men with a history of urinary tract infections, urinary tract abnormalities, or prior surgical procedures in the lower abdomen are more likely to be affected. Other known risk factors include stress, irregular sexual activity, engaging in anal intercourse, dehydration, and pelvic trauma. Complications of prostatitis include infertility, severe infection, and urinary disorders. Prostatitis does not lead to prostate cancer.
Treatment for prostatitis depends on the specific type. Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants may be used to treat prostatitis. Other treatment measures include proper hydration, hot baths, and relaxing while urinating. If you have been diagnosed with prostatitis, talk to your doctor about the most appropriate treatment options.