What is chronic nonbacterial prostatitis?
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is a common condition that causes pain and
inflammation in the prostate and the lower urinary tract in men. The prostate
gland is located right below the bladder in men. It produces fluid that helps
What are the symptoms of nonbacterial prostatitis?
Symptoms can cause pain,
discomfort, and urinary issues. They can include:
- difficulty urinating or straining to urinate
- frequent or urgent need to urinate
- blood in the urine or semen
- pain or burning with urination
- pain with bowel movement
- pain with ejaculation
- pain in the low back, above the pubic bone,
between the genitals and anus, on the tip of the penis, or in the urethra
- sexual dysfunction
Make an appointment with
your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms.
Don’t ignore symptoms of
chronic nonbacterial prostatitis; the condition may be treatable.
What causes chronic nonbacterial
There are two types of
prostatitis: acute and chronic. Acute cases are often caused when bacteria in
the urinary tract cause inflammation. Symptoms typically develop suddenly. Chronic
nonbacterial prostatitis is an ongoing problem. You might have symptoms that
last for a long period of time.
Symptoms may also appear
and disappear over the course of several months.
prostatitis is the most common type of prostatitis, but the exact cause is
unknown. Doctors suspect that it may be due to a prior infection or a small
injury that causes inflammation over time.
What are the risk factors for chronic nonbacterial prostatitis?
The cause of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is unknown. This
makes it difficult to predict who is at high risk for this condition. However,
research is ongoing. Once a cause is discovered it will be easier to identify
How is this condition diagnosed?
Your doctor will review
your medical history and give you a prostate exam to determine a diagnosis.
A prostate exam
involves your doctor inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum.
They will feel for signs of inflammation, such as a tender, soft, or swollen
prostate. Your doctor may perform additional tests, such as:
- urine test
- semen studies
- tests to rule out a sexually transmitted
- prostate fluid studies
To examine prostate
fluid, your doctor will massage the prostate to release fluid from the urethra.
The fluid is then sent to a lab for testing.
What treatment options are available?
The goal of treatment is to help improve symptoms. Using
antibiotics to treat this condition is controversial.
Some doctors don’t give antibiotics because the condition is
believed to be chronic and not due to an active infection. Some doctors will
prescribe antibiotics, thinking it could help treat an infection that’s
difficult to see in the urine.
Other common treatments include:
- medications to relax the prostate muscles called
alpha-adrenergic blockers, which are the same medications used to treat other
prostate conditions, like BPH (benign prostate hypertrophy)
- prescription pain medication or nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling
- stool softeners to prevent constipation
Alternative and natural remedies may relieve certain
symptoms. Therapies to reduce pain include:
- warm baths
- relaxation exercises
- drinking cranberry juice or extracts
- taking herbal supplements (e.g., antioxidant
bioflavonoid quercetin to reduce inflammation)
- using a cushion or pillow when sitting for long
- massage therapy
- avoiding spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol
- biofeedback, a relaxation technique
Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.
Some combinations of herbs may reduce the effectiveness of certain medications.
Coping with a chronic condition
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis can be an ongoing, painful
condition. Flare-ups can cause distress and frustration. There have been a few small studies that suggest prostatitis increases
the risk of prostate cancer, however much more research needs to be done before
the link can be established. Make sure you follow up with a urologist to
discuss your risk of developing cancer if you have this condition.
To cope with anxiety or depression triggered by chronic pain
and inflammation, discuss treatments to improve your mental health with your
doctor. These might include prescription or natural antidepressants. Joining a
support group or seeking private counseling can also help you cope with the
condition until your symptoms improve.