What is prostatitis?
Also referred to as prostate inflammation, prostatitis is a condition that causes infection, inflammation, and pain in your prostate gland. The primary function of the prostate gland is to manufacture seminal fluid that is produced during ejaculation.
Nearly 10-25% of men are likely to experience prostatitis during their lifetime.
What are the potential causes of prostatitis?
The primary cause of prostatitis is infections, mainly from sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Certain microorganisms such as mycoplasma bacteria or ureaplasma can trigger prostatitis symptoms.
You can also acquire prostatitis from certain infections such as diabetes, benign hyperplasia, or inflammatory bowel syndrome; a condition in which bacteria can move freely through the colon wall to the prostate tissue. The transfer of bacteria to your prostate tissue can happen during certain medical examinations such as colonoscopy (endoscopic examination of your bowels) and cystoscopy, which refers to the medical examination of your bladder and urethra.
Other conditions that can trigger prostatitis symptoms include;
- Levator ani syndrome
- Chronic pelvic pain syndrome
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
These conditions are easily confused with prostatitis, causing misdiagnosis and poor treatment.
What are the symptoms of prostatitis?
- Cloudy urine
- Inability to get and maintain erections (erectile dysfunction)
- Premature ejaculation
- Painful ejaculation
- Painful intercourse
- Blood in either semen or urine
- Pain or discomfort around the perineum
- Burning sensation during urination
- Difficult urination which is characterized by difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Lower back pain
- Feeling that your bladder has not been entirely emptied. You may also experience a moist feeling in your urethra
- Pelvic pain which is characterized by a sharp pain that may worsen when seated
- Frequent urination
How is prostatitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will establish the specific type of prostatitis you may be suffering from and will also have to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
This is done through tests such as;
- Urine test: Your doctor may take a sample of your urine and send it to the lab to examine it for signs of infection. Your doctor will specifically look for signs of UTIs and bacteria.
- Blood test: Your doctor may also conduct some blood tests to check for possible symptoms of infections or other prostate-related issues.
- Imaging exams: In some instances, your doctor may recommend that you go for ultrasound scans or X-rays to get a clear view of your urinary tract and prostate.
- Physical exam: To assess whether there are any signs of tenderness, swelling, genital abnormalities, or enlarged lymph nodes.
Your doctor may also ask questions including;
- Your past sexual exposure
- Your medical history
- Other potential prostatitis risk factors
How is prostatitis treated in Singapore?
While prostatitis is generally a treatable condition, the course of your treatment will depend on the cause as well as the severity of your prostatitis symptoms.
As prostatitis is mainly caused by bacterial infections, treatment will hinge on the most appropriate antibiotic treatment. Treatment can last anywhere from a few days to weeks, depending on the severity of your condition.
For chronic prostatitis, you may need a combination of relaxation medication and therapies that target your pelvic floor nerve muscles or ESWT treatment. Note: Chronic prostatitis may take fairly longer to resolve.
Early effective treatment for UTIs may help prevent the initial infection from spreading to your prostate. If you regularly experience pain and discomfort in your perineum while seated, it’s high time you consult a doctor. Your doctor will provide you with the necessary steps to solve your symptoms before they can actually result in chronic pelvic syndrome.
You are strongly advised to call your doctor if you experience difficulty urinating, blood in your semen, incontinence or frequent urination, or pain while urinating.
If you strongly suspect that you may have contracted prostatitis due to infection, you are strongly advised to hold your urine for nearly two hours prior to your appointment to help enhance the efficacy of the exam.
Based on your symptoms, you may have to undergo a bacterial test should your doctor deem that necessary.