Prostatitis is inflammation (swelling) of the prostate gland. It can be very painful and distressing but will usually get better over time. The prostate is a small gland in between the bladder and the penis. It produces fluid that is mixed with sperm to become semen.
Prostatitis is most common in men aged between 30 and 50. There are 2 main types. Chronic prostatitis where symptoms come and go over several months and acute prostatitis where symptoms are severe and come on suddenly. The latter is rare but potentially life-threatening so must be treated very quickly.
Common symptoms are:
- Pain – this can be around the penis, testicles, anus, abdomen or lower back
- Urinary symptoms – pain when going to the toilet, urinating frequently especially at night, an urgent need to urinate, some hesitation when trying to pass urine, blood in the urine
- Not being able to urinate at all (urinary retention)
- General aches and pains, high temperature
- Sexual symptoms – difficulty getting an erection (impotence), painful ejaculation or pain after sex
Acute prostatitis is usually caused by infection and can be treated with antibiotics. Chronic prostatitis often has no clear cause so treatment is to make symptoms better. Painkillers, medication to relax the muscles of the urinary tract and laxatives to make going to the toilet easier can help.
There are some serious complications of prostatitis such as acute urinary retention and abscesses so it is always recommended to have symptoms investigated by a doctor.