The prostate is a small gland that surrounds a man's urethra, the tube that takes urine and semen out of the body. The prostate supplies nutrients to semen, performing an important role in reproduction.
Below, we discuss the causes and symptoms of acute prostatitis, as well as possible complications and home remedies.
What is acute prostatitis?
Acute prostatitis is when the prostate gland becomes inflamed.
When the prostate gland becomes inflamed, symptoms may be similar to those of an acute urinary tract infection or UTI. In fact, acute prostatitis is often caused by a type of bacteria that causes UTIs and sexually transmitted infections.
Prostatitis is a common condition, with about 50 percent of all men likely to experience it in their lifetimes. Acute prostatitis, on the other hand, is quite rare. Despite this, it is usually easy to diagnose because of distinct characteristics.
Inflammation can result from bacteria entering the prostate via the blood or an infection in the area. A medical procedure may also lead to bacteria entering the prostate.
Underlying causes of acute prostatitis are usually a blocked urethra or a suppressed immune system. In a small number of cases, acute prostatitis may become chronic.
Some of the most common symptoms of acute prostatitis resemble those of a UTI. They can include:
- pain in the pelvis
- blood in the urine
- pain above the pelvic bone
- pain in the rectum, testicles, or genitals
- pain during urination
- increased frequency of urination
- bad-smelling urine
- pain or discomfort during a bowel movement
- a weakened urine stream
- painful ejaculation
- blood in the semen
- trouble starting urination
- difficulty voiding the bladder
Antibiotics are a common treatment for acute prostatitis.
Acute prostatitis is usually treated with antibiotics. These may need to be taken for 4 to 6 weeks or longer. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on the bacteria that is causing the infection.
A doctor may also prescribe medication designed to alleviate symptoms of acute prostatitis. Alpha-blockers may be used to relax the bladder muscles and reduce discomfort. In some cases, a doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
A person with a severe case of acute prostatitis may require hospitalization. For example, hospitalization is necessary when the swollen prostrate blocks the urethra. In the hospital, strong doses of antibiotics will be intravenously administered.
In addition to seeking medical intervention, a person may try to alleviate symptoms with home remedies. These can be used in conjunction with medical treatment.
Home remedies for acute prostatitis include:
- taking warm showers or baths
- avoiding activities that put pressure on the prostate, such as bicycling
- sitting on a cushion
- avoiding alcohol
- reducing or avoiding consumption of spicy foods
- drinking plenty of fluids that do not contain caffeine
While results have not been scientifically confirmed, some men may wish to try alternative therapies. Some alternative therapies that may alleviate symptoms include:
- herbs and supplements
There are a variety of lifestyle changes that may reduce the risks of developing chronic or recurring prostatitis. These include:
- reducing stress
- using protection during sexual activity
- ejaculating at least once a week
- avoiding processed foods
- eating a healthful diet
- protecting against pelvic trauma
- maintaining a healthy weight
Complications of acute prostatitis incude semen abnormalities and infertility.
Acute prostatitis may cause a blockage of the urethra. When this occurs, a person will experience pain and discomfort in the bladder. If left untreated, a blocked bladder can lead to permanent kidney damage.
Other complications may include:
- inflammation of the epididymis, a coiled tube at the back of the testicles
- bacteremia, a bacterial infection of the blood
- a prostatic abscess, a pus-filled pocket in the prostate
- semen abnormalities
Most cases of acute prostatitis will clear up with antibiotic treatment. Some severe cases of infection may require a hospital stay.
There is the chance that acute prostatitis can become chronic. Symptoms of chronic prostatitis may be reduced with diet and lifestyle changes.
Consult a doctor about the best treatment options available, and for advice about lifestyle changes that may help to reduce the risk of developing chronic prostatitis.