What is a Prostate Infection?

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. Inflammation means that something has triggered the body’s immune system. The reason can be a bacterial infection, but also irritation or damaged tissue. There are four different kinds of this illness.

Acute prostate infection

Acute prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection. This is a serious illness, which needs immediate treatment.

Acute prostatitis mostly causes pain in the lower back with feverish chills. Also, the patient often feels an urgent feeling of having to pee.  It hurts to pee, often together with a burning sensation. In many cases the  cause of this infection is a urinary tract infection. Another cause could be a prostate biopsy.

A urine or blood test will easily reveal the cause of this form of prostatitis. The blood test will show a high amount of white blood cells. Examination of the urine also shows white blood cells, and the bacteria that cause the infection.

When the doctor does a rectal prostate examination, it may be quite painful for the patient. This is why the doctor usually prefers to take a sonogram to see if there is any swelling of the prostate. A sonogram uses sound waves to make an image of the prostate.

No prostate massage in case of acute prostatitis

One thing a doctor will never do in case he suspects a prostate infection, is a prostate massage. A massage could easily cause sepsis in the patient suffering from an infected prostate. Sepsis is an extreme reaction of the body to an infection, causing damage to tissues and organs.

Once the doctor has found out which bacteria cause the acute prostatitis, he will know which medication to prescribe.

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS)

This is the most common kind of prostatitis. Even though most cases of prostate infection fall in this category, this disorder still needs a lot of research. Famous persons known with this syndrome are US president John F. Kennedy and British  actor  John Cleese.

A syndrome is a combination of symptoms that show together. This particular syndrome often presents with a chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. It causes pain in the pelvic region, lasting longer than three months. The pain does not have to be constant. It can go from rather mild to the point where the patient can’t look after himself anymore.

The patient may feel pain at the back and in the bottom, in the bladder and testicles and even in the penis. It can be painful to pee, with a constant burning sensation in the penis. The illness may also cause pain in the joints and muscles around the back and hips. When you suffer from this form of prostatitis, you could also feel very tired and have no interest in sex. It may even be the cause of erectile dysfunction.

Several tests are done to see if there is a bacterial infection of the prostate or any kind of urinary tract infection. The doctor will also look for benign prostatic enlargement (BPH), and may even test the patient for cancer.

Stress may be the cause

If no cause is found for the symptoms, the doctor may decide it is Chronic pelvic pain syndrome. This syndrome is difficult to treat. A possible cause may be stress. Stress causes tense muscles. And if this happens to the muscles in the pelvic or anal area, it may lead to all kinds of symptoms. Stress may also activate trigger points in this area. Physiotherapy could bring relief, in combination with stress management. It is obvious that the illness in itself causes a lot of stress to the patient.

Chronic bacterial prostate infection

The chronic bacterial form of prostatitis is a rare disease. It may present in patients as recurring urinary tract infections. A bladder infection keeps coming back, while the cause of the infection lies in the chronically infected prostate.

A sample of prostate fluid will reveal the occurrence of bacteria.

Not all antibiotics can get into the prostate to kill the bacteria that cause all the trouble. Once the doctor has discovered that his patient has chronic prostate infection, he will give certain antibiotics, like tetracycline. The patient will have to take these antibiotics for one or two months. Sometimes even longer. As the prostate often is enlarged due to the infection, the doctor may also give his patient tamsulosin (Flomax). This makes it easier to pee for the patient, in case the enlarged prostate causes difficulty passing urine.

Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis

Asymptomic simply means that there are no symptoms. This kind of prostatitis is found in patients who show a high count of white blood cells in their semen. The amount of white blood cells points to an inflammation. However, the patient shows no further symptoms like pain in the pelvic region or complaints related to the urinary tract.

It’s often found in men who suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). One way a doctor finds out a patient has an inflammation of the prostate is when a test shows puss cells in the semen. Nevertheless, only few men show this characteristic of prostatitis.