Prostatitis refers to inflammation of the prostate gland, a walnut-shaped organ located under the bladder whose main role is to produce semen. An inflamed prostate can result in a number of symptoms, such as a frequent and urgent need to urinate and pain or burning upon urinating – often in addition to pelvic, groin or low back pain. Prostatitis represents a mix of conditions, including acute prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), which accounts for the majority of the cases.
Common symptoms include urologic pain, or discomfort in the pelvic region, associated with urinary symptoms and/or sexual dysfunction, lasting for at least 3 of the previous 6 months. Symptoms of CP/CPPS can diminish quality of life and impair physical and psychologic function. The most common cause of prostatitis is bacterial, but trauma, stress or an immune system disorder are other possible causes for prostatitis.
Medical treatments for prostatitis generally depend on the type of prostatitis you’ve been diagnosed with. Treatment generally involves the use of various medications such as antibiotics and in more severe cases surgery. Below are few of the alternative therapies available used to treat and alleviate the symptoms prostatitis.
When the prostate is inflamed, infected or congested, the small sacs inside the gland become blocked and accumulate prostatic fluids. These fluids are a breeding ground for microbes that can cause more inflammation and prostatitis. Therapeutic prostate massage may extrude the accumulated fluids, open up the passages in the prostate and allow the gland to shrink back to normal size. Prostate massage also improves blood flow to the prostate, which delivers more essential nutrients, oxygen and white blood cells to fight infections.
Kegel exercises help to 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 at least 5 to 10 sets daily.
Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, helps increase circulation in the prostate while helping to relax and open the urinary tract. Sit in a tub full of the hottest water you can tolerate for 15-30 minutes. Cold soaks may also be therapeutic, and should be alternated with hot soaks.
Biofeedback is an alternative method of treatment that allows you to use your thoughts to control your pain. Biofeedback enables a person to become more aware of his body’s signals. It is very useful for pelvic-floor muscles because they are not visible. With increased awareness, patients can learn to correctly contract, relax and coordinate these muscles so they work more effectively. With the help of a biofeedback monitoring device, you can learn to relax your muscles and control your symptoms of prostatitis.