Prostatitis is a complex condition affecting many men of all ages. Prostatitis is often described as an infection of the prostate. However it can also be an inflammation with no sign of infection. Just 5% to 10% of cases are caused by bacterial infection. Depending on the underlying cause, prostatitis can come on gradually or suddenly. It might improve quickly, either on its own or with treatment. Some types of prostatitis last for months or keep recurring. Below are the different types of prostatitis and their treatments.
Types Of Prostatitis & Treatment
Acute bacterial prostatitis: Is caused by an infection, is least common but easiest to diagnose and treat. Symptoms come on strong and suddenly. This type of prostatitis can be quite serious if the infection spreads to the blood or other parts of the body.
Acute bacterial prostatitis can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Usually oral antibiotics suffice, but intravenous antibiotics may be necessary in severe cases. Therapy typically lasts about two to four weeks.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis: Is a recurrent infection and inflammation of the prostate and urinary tract. Symptoms are less severe than those associated with acute bacterial prostatitis. Chronic bacterial prostatitis is also a common cause of frequent urinary tract infections in men.
Your doctor will give you a course of antibiotic tablets. You’ll need to take these for at least four to six weeks. If you still have symptoms after you finish the treatment, your doctor may do another urine test to see if the infection has gone. If you still have symptoms after you finish your antibiotic treatment but there is no further infection, you might need more tests to find out what’s causing the problem.
You might be offered another type of drug, called an alpha-blocker. Some men find that taking alpha-blockers together with antibiotics can help to improve urinary symptoms, such as a weak or slow flow. If you have a lot of discomfort or pain, you may also need to take pain-relieving drugs. Your doctor can recommend ones that are suitable for you.
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: Most cases of prostatitis fall into this category, however it is the least understood. It can be further characterized as inflammatory or noninflammatory, depending upon the presence or absence of infection-fighting cells in the urine, semen, and prostatic fluid. Often no specific cause can be identified. The symptoms can come and go or remain chronically.
Treatments for CP/CPPS vary and are tailored specifically to the type of prostatitis you have and a correct diagnosis is crucial. CP/CPPS can also be difficult to treat and, unfortunately, it cannot always be cured. It can also take some time to find what best relieves a man’s symptoms. Some strategies for treating CP/CPPS symptoms include the following:
- Medications: Anti-inflammatory, pain medications, and muscle relaxants may be recommended. Alpha-blockers, which help relax muscles around the prostate, may also help. Some doctors prescribe antibiotics for CP/CPPS, but this treatment option is controversial.
- Heat: Some men find relief by taking a hot bath or by applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the affected area.
- Changes in diet: Spicy foods and caffeinated or acidic drinks can aggravate symptoms for some men.
- Lifestyle changes: Activities that make symptoms worse, like bicycle riding, may need to be avoided.
Prostatic massages: These massages can help release some pressure around the prostate.
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis: This form of prostatitis doesn’t have any symptoms – the word asymptomatic means there are no symptoms.This condition is often diagnosed incidentally during the work-up for infertility or prostate cancer. Individuals with this form of prostatitis will not complain of symptoms or discomfort, but they will have the presence of infection-fighting cells present in semen/prostatic fluid.
Because it doesn’t cause symptoms, asymptomatic prostatitis doesn’t usually need any treatment. But you might get a course of antibiotics if:
- you have high levels of a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood, or
- you have high levels of white blood cells in your urine or semen.
This is a sign that you have an infection or inflammation in your body. Your doctor will tell you how long to take the antibiotics for, but it’s usually around four to six weeks. In most cases, your PSA level will return to normal four to six weeks after you finish your antibiotics.
Prostatitis is a treatable condition. Even if the problem cannot be cured, you can usually get relief from your symptoms by following the recommended treatment. If you are taking a medication prescribed by your doctor, it is important to follow the full course of the prescription, even if you no longer have any symptoms.