The prostate gland is a part of the male’s reproductive system that contributes to the production, nourishment, and delivery of sperm.
At times, this gland can become inflamed or infected. This is known as prostatitis, and the condition could be the source of uncomfortable symptoms.
An accurate diagnosis, however, can offer relief from problematic effects of an affected gland.
What Are the Symptoms?
Several symptoms can suggest the presence of prostatitis. A change in urinary function, such as difficulty urinating or a weakened flow, may affect some men. Frequency and urgency regarding urination could increase. Other cases might involve pain while urinating or ejaculating, episodes of erectile dysfunction, fever, or even signs of blood in the urine. Such symptoms may become noticeable over time or suddenly depending on the cause of the prostatitis.
This often occurs because the size of the prostate gland has increased. Since it is located under the bladder and around the urethra, the larger it becomes, the more it can compress the passageway designed to accommodate the flow of urine and semen. Typically the size of a walnut, a prostate gland might become as large as a lemon when prostatitis occurs. Specific symptoms could include:
- A feeling of not urinating completely
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty initiating urination
- Increased urination
- Difficulty controlling the flow of urine
- Pain in the genital area or lower back
How Is the Condition Diagnosed?
A physical exam of the prostate gland may reveal swelling. A urine analysis might be conducted to determine if blood is present or to identify signs of an acute bacterial infection. A thorough discussion of the type and location of any discomfort as well as lifestyle behaviors or other health concerns could also point to a prostatitis diagnosis.
What Are the Possible Treatments?
Appropriate treatment plans can range depending on each individual. In some circumstances, simple lifestyle changes could result in relief. For example, sitz baths, relaxation exercises, or limiting fluid consumption prior to bed can relieve mild symptoms. Other times, a prostatic massage can encourage the expression of fluid that might be contributing to the swelling that inhibits comfortable urination. Antibiotics are sometimes recommended when bacterial infections are suspected. Surgical solutions might be warranted in the event of an abscess.
Moderate to severe symptoms may leave the patient feeling frustrated. Fortunately, options are available. The effectiveness of the procedures as well as expected recovery times depend on individual circumstance and the invasiveness involved. People suffering from prostatitis may want to consider:
- Transurethral resection of the prostate
- A prostatic urethral lift
- Photoselective vaporization of the prostate
Though it is common for the prostate gland to become enlarged or inflamed as men age, other risk factors may need to be considered when determining a cause for the condition. Pelvic trauma, prostatic biopsies, or urethral infections could all lead to prostatitis. In the event that symptoms have become disruptive to normal activity, a thorough medical exam is warranted. With the right diagnosis and treatment, it is possible to manage prostatitis and achieve improved well-being.