Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland. The prostate is a small gland, the size of a walnut present only in males, and situated just below the urinary bladder.
What are the causes of prostatitis?
Prostatitis may be due to a bacterial infection or because of chemical irritation due to urine refluxing up into the ducts of the prostate gland (non-bacterial prostatitis). The bacterial infection may occur suddenly (acute) or persist over a period of time (chronic).
What are the symptoms?
The acute symptoms may be fever and chills, pain in the low back, in the testes or scrotum. There may be pain or burning on passing urine accompanied by frequent urination. In chronic prostatitis, the symptoms are less prominent. There may be only persistent low back pain or discomfort while passing urine. Occasionally there may be discomfort during ejaculation and even blood in the semen.
How is the diagnosis made?
The doctor will usually order some blood and urine tests. He will also examine the prostate gland by inserting a finger into the anus and touching the gland. In case of prostatitis this examination elicits pain.
What is the treatment?
Antibiotics like norfloxacin are prescribed and continued for 10 to 14 days. In some cases the antibiotics may need to be given for a longer duration. Pain relieving medicines and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen may also be prescribed. In non-bacterial prostatitis, it may not be necessary to give antibiotics. In chronic cases, it is often extremely difficult to eradicate the infection completely and relapses may occur.