Prostate infection: What to know

Bacteria can cause inflammation in the prostate. Bacterial prostatitis is the medical term for this condition. It can cause excruciating pain and urinary changes.

The prostate gland is a tiny walnut-shaped gland in the male reproductive system. It is located directly under the bladder and creates a semen component. The urethra is a tube that connects the bladder to the penis and conducts urine past the prostate.

Prostatitis is a frequent prostate condition that can cause pain and trouble urinating, among other symptoms. Prostatitis can be caused by a variety of factors, however bacterial infections are a common cause of prostate inflammation.

Gender and sex exist on a spectrum. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to the sex assigned at birth. To learn more, visit here.

Continue reading to discover more about the many forms of prostate infections, as well as their causes and symptoms.

Types

consent to treatment

There are two types of prostatitis when an infection is the cause:

Acute bacterial prostatitis

When a person has a short-term or acute prostate infection, the symptoms are severe and appear rapidly.

Prostatitis is the medical name for prostate inflammation. Acute prostatitis is a rare condition that is always caused by an infection.

The infection must be treated right away since it can lead to significant problems.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis

Bacterial prostatitis, often known as chronic or long-term prostatitis, causes symptoms that come and go over several months.

The medical world refers to this condition as chronic bacterial prostatitis if the inflammation is caused by an infection.

If a separate cause is found, the condition is known as chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and it affects 10–15 percent of men in the United States.

Causes

A bacterial infection causes acute prostatitis. Urine bacteria can travel backwards from the urethra and infect the prostate gland. Prostatitis can return and become chronic if antibiotics do not eliminate the germs.

While other causes are less well understood, prostatitis may arise from nerve injury in the lower urinary tract as a result of surgery or trauma, or from the immune system’s response to a past urinary tract infection (UTI) if a person does not have a bacterial infection.

Risk factors

Prostate infections are more common in some people. The following are examples of risk factors:

  • using a catheter
  • an abnormality in the urinary tract
  • a current bladder infection or UTI
  • a history of prostatitis episodes
  • sustained injuries to the pelvis after undergoing procedures involving the urethra or prostate

Symptoms

Depending on whether the infection is acute or persistent, the signs and symptoms of bacterial prostatitis will vary.

Acute bacterial prostatitis

The symptoms strike out of nowhere and are severe. They may include the following:

  • urine with an unpleasant odor
  • blood in the urine or semen
  • body aches
  • burning pain while urinating
  • difficulty urinating
  • fever or chills
  • frequent urination
  • nausea
  • nocturia (urinating 2–3 times per night)
  • pain in the lower abdomen or lower back
  • vomiting

Acute bacterial prostatitis necessitates medical attention right away.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis

These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can appear gradually or intermittently over several months.

Symptoms of bacterial prostatitis are considered chronic if they have been present for at least three months and include:

  • an urgent need to pass urine
  • bladder pain
  • burning pain during urination
  • difficulty passing urine
  • frequent urination
  • pain in the lower abdomen, back, or groin
  • pain in the testes or penis
  • painful ejaculation
  • a UTI

Diagnosis

To diagnose a prostate infection, a doctor may:

  • take a medical history
  • inquire about symptoms
  • perform a physical examination, including a digital rectal exam
  • analyze a urine sample for signs of an infection

The doctor may also order one or more of the following:

  • blood tests to check for signs of an infection or another problem
  • semen analysis to look for signs of an infection
  • imaging tests to check for blockages or other issues in the urinary tract or prostate
  • prostatic massage, which involves massaging the prostate and checking the discharge for abnormalities
  • a biopsy, which involves taking some tissue from the prostate and examining it under a microscope

These tests can be used to confirm a diagnosis of prostatitis while also ruling out other illnesses including prostate cancer.

The results may also aid in determining the optimal treatment option.

Treatment options

Prostatitis people can benefit from both medical and natural remedies.

Medication

Prostatitis medications include:

  • antibiotics
  • alpha-blockers
  • anti-inflammatory medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, meloxicam, and naproxen, are used to treat pain and inflammation in some people. These can be purchased over-the-counter or with a prescription. People may take alpha-blockers to relax the prostate muscle and make urination simpler.

Surgery

Surgery may be necessary, though this is uncommon.

Surgeons can remove obstructions or scar tissue from the bladder, improving urine flow and alleviating prostatitis symptoms.

Natural treatments

Although home cures can help alleviate some symptoms, they seldom remove bacteria from the prostate. In most cases, medical attention is required.

The following are some examples of home remedies:

  • drinking more water to help flush out bacteria
  • avoiding bladder irritants, such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food
  • soaking in a warm sitz bath
  • using a heating pad to alleviate pain
  • avoiding activities that irritate the prostate, including cycling, horseback riding, and anything involving prolonged periods of sitting
  • practicing Kegel exercises to train the bladder

Alternative therapies such as the ones listed below may also help some people:

  • acupuncture
  • biofeedback
  • herbal supplements, such as ryegrass and saw palmetto

Female prostatitis

The prostate gland is not normally found in females. Skene’s glands, a set of glands and ducts at the front of the vagina, are sometimes referred to as the “female prostate” by certain people. While the medical world isn’t entirely sure what these glands function, old research suggests they may have certain qualities in common with the male prostate gland.

Female prostatitis is a term used by doctors to describe an infection of the Skene’s glands. Sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea, can spread to the female prostate in some situations. It could also be urethral syndrome, which is a collection of symptoms that occur when the urethra is irritated.

Conclusion

Anyone experiencing signs of a bacterial prostate infection should seek medical attention right once.

If the condition is not treated, it might lead to consequences such as:

  • an abscess in the prostate
  • bacteremia (a bacterial infection of the blood)
  • chronic pain
  • epididymitis (inflammation at the back of the testes)
  • infertility
  • urinary problems

People should seek medical help as soon as possible to avoid complications and alleviate the symptoms. They should also stick to the doctor’s treatment plan.

Before experiencing benefits, a person may need to switch to a different antibiotic. In certain circumstances, a chronic bacterial prostate infection may only be entirely resolved after months of antibiotic treatment.

Sources

  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301916925_Clinical_implications_of_the_forgotten_Skene’s_glands_A_review_of_current_literature
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459257/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1303542/pdf/westjmed00356-0049.pdf
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547703/
  • https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/p/prostatitis-(infection-of-the-prostate)
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/prostate-problems/prostatitis-inflammation-prostate
  • https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/understanding-prostate-changes