Prostatitis is a term that refers to the infection of the prostrate leading to inflammation. Although it affects men at all ages, it is mainly prevalent among men between 35 to 50 years old and is known to affect nearly 1/3 of men aged above 50 in the UK. The primary cause of prostatitis is not known, but medics have identified the two leading causes as bacterial and non-bacterial.
Bacterial prostatitis is caused by a persistent infection of the urinary tract of the prostate gland by a bacteria or germ. The bacterium is believed to harbor in the urinary tract and causes recurrent infections thus resulting in chronic bacterial prostatitis in most cases. Non-bacterial prostatitis is the most common form of prostatitis affecting nearly 90% of patients in the UK. The primary cause of this type of prostatitis is not known, but several theories have been identified such as:
- Past bacterial infection
- Chemical irritation
- Virus and parasites
- Infection of nerves in lower urinary gland
Pain associated with prostatitis
One of the early symptoms of this condition is pain usually experienced in the lower abdomen, during bowel movement, during ejaculation, pain in the pubic bone, bladder pain, and pain between the genitals and sometimes at the tip of the penis. The pain can range from mild to chronic pain sometimes lasting for three months depending on the type of prostatitis infection. For instance, patient’s with chronic non-bacterial prostatitis experience pain in their genitals or urinary tract continuously for at least three months. The pain in the lower abdomen and around the anus is mild and non-persistent in most cases disappears after a few hours.
Pain or a burning sensation during urination occurs due to narrowing of the urethra in the prostate gland as a result of the infection. If the inflammation extends to the bladder, the patient suffers frequent urination since the bladder can hold limited amounts of urine. Traces of blood can also be found in the patient’s urine or stool in the case of severe infection. In some cases, the patient may experience difficult urination manifested by dripping or hesitant urination.
Penis pain may be accompanied by itching, throbbing sensation or burning and starts with a mild pain and gradually gets worst. This pain mainly occurs at the tip of the penis. The patient can also experience penile discharge which in most cases is a thick, discolored fluid. This discharge can also contribute to pain during urination since it irritates the penis’ tip.
Pain during ejaculation is another symptom which manifests as discomfort in the penis, perinea ache or testicular during intercourse particularly when ejaculating. This pain is associated with narrowing of the urethra; excessive pressure applied to the bladder, or blockage of the urethra a condition caused by prostatitis. In some cases, pain during ejaculation can lead to erectile dysfunction or decreased libido while some patients experience pain after sex.If the infection affects Vas Deferens or the tube that carries the sperm to the urethra from the testicles, it may lead to impotence as premature sperms get to the urethra. Premature ejaculation and presence of blood in the sperm can also be a symptom of prostatitis.
Though sexual intercourse was associated with prostatitis in the past, it has been ruled out by medics. This condition can be treated by administering various antibiotics and painkillers depending on the type of prostatitis. Prof. DR. Federico Guercini, a leading urologist consultant in Italy, advises patients who experience these symptoms to talk to their doctors and get tested for this condition.