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Prostatitis


Topic Overview

What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is swelling or infection of the prostate gland. It often hurts. The prostate glandClick here to see an illustration. sits just below a man's bladder and makes part of the fluid for semen. In young men, the prostate is about the size of a walnut. It usually grows larger as you grow older.

There are several types of prostatitis. They vary based on how long a man has had the problem and what kind of symptoms he has.

What causes prostatitis?

Sometimes prostatitis is caused by bacteria, but often the cause is not known.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of long-term (chronic) prostatitis are often mild and start slowly over weeks or months. They may include:

  • An urge to urinate often. But you may pass only small amounts of urine.
  • A burning pain when you urinate.
  • A problem starting the urine stream, urinating in waves rather than in a steady stream, urine flow that is weaker than normal, and dribbling after urinating.
  • Waking up at night to urinate often.
  • A feeling of not completely emptying your bladder.
  • Pain in your lower back, in the area between the testicles and anus, in the lower belly or upper thighs, or above the pubic area. Pain may be worse during a bowel movement.
  • Some pain during or after ejaculation.
  • Pain in the tip of your penis.

Symptoms of acute prostatitis are the same, but they start suddenly and are severe. They may also include a fever and chills.

Some men may have no symptoms.

How is prostatitis diagnosed?

A doctor can often tell if you have prostatitis by asking about your symptoms and past health. He or she will also do a physical exam, including a digital rectal exam. In this test, the doctor puts a gloved, lubricated finger in your rectum to feel your prostate. You may also need blood and urine tests to find out which type of prostatitis you have or to look for another cause of your problems.

How is it treated?

Prostatitis caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics and self-care.

Home treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids and getting lots of rest. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers can also help.

Your doctor may prescribe medicine to control pain and reduce swelling. He or she may also prescribe medicine to soften your stool and relax your bladder muscles.

Surgery is rarely used to treat prostatitis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about prostatitis:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

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