Causes of Chronic Prostatitis
The causes of chronic prostatitis can be challenging to identify. The vast majority of men who have prostatitis have chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). This type of prostatitis is not caused by bacteria (although some experts believe there may be a bacterial component to CP/CPPS, which is discussed here as well). Therefore, clinicians must search through a variety of other possible causes of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis when diagnosing prostatitis. Here is an overview of some of those causes.
Pelvic Floor Disorders
It is estimated that about 50% of the men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome have some kind of pelvic floor disorder that may be related to tension or stress. Some experts believe chronic prostatitis is caused by men who continuously or frequently tense their pelvic floor muscles, leading to chronic pain. Among men whose chronic prostatitis may be caused by neuromuscular tension, effective alternative prostatitis treatments may consist of non-drug options, such as trigger point release therapy. There are holistic therapeutic programs that focus on pelvic floor disorders and tension such as The Renew XY Health Program for Men (physiotherapy for pelvic floor muscle dysfunction) and the NPAT program, which was developed by a naturopathic urologist. In addition to neuromuscular tension disorder, stress or emotional tension can elevate prolactin levels, which can lead to damage of the immune system and result in inflammation, as well as cause an imbalance in the neuroendocrine system, which leads to chronic pain. Another related cause includes pelvic myoneuropathy.
An injury to the pelvic area, such as from a sports accident (e.g., kick or blow to the groin), excessive bicycle or motorcycle riding, or other trauma to the pelvic region may cause or lead to chronic prostatitis.
Medical procedures can injure the tissue or cause inflammation in the pelvic region and cause nonbacterial prostatitis. Catheter insertion and prostate biopsy have both been associated with causing CPPS.
Several known causes of chronic prostatitis include sexual habits and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Unprotected sex with a partner with a sexually transmitted disease could cause bacteria to enter the urethra, just as engaging in anal sex without a condom could cause bacteria to enter the urethra and infections. Having multiple sexual partners can put you at further risk. On the other hand, a lack of sexual activity can also cause nonbacterial prostatitis, since some experts say that semen can accumulate in the prostate too long and cause inflammation among men who do not ejaculate regularly. Insufficient weekly ejaculations could be a cause.
Beyond infections from sexually transmitted diseases, in rare cases, viruses, fungi, and parasites have been found to be causes of chronic prostatitis. Some experts believe men who have chronic nonbacterial prostatitis actually may have a bacterial infection, but that the microorganisms are hidden or masked by the body and therefore are not identified in urine samples. If this is true, then nonbacterial prostatitis would be at least partially caused by bacteria. Bladder infections can be to blame as well.
Some research suggests inflammation of the prostate may be caused by an autoimmune response. For example, cells called mast cells may be prompted by the immune system to produce chemicals that cause inflammation. Cytokines are immune system proteins that cause inflammation. While cytokines are not elevated in every patient, they are elevated in many men suffering from prostatitis. Autoimmune causes may be related to neutrophil dysfunction and regional pain syndrome.
Men should consider insufficient sleep, smoking, use of alcohol, or lack of social support as factors that may cause or contribute to chronic prostatitis and decrease immunity. Making good decisions about protecting your genitals when playing sports or riding a bike, sexual habits, and not swimming in polluted water can affect your prostate health and risk of prostatitis.
Diet and Environmental Factors
Inflammation of the prostate may be the body’s way of responding to a food intolerance or food allergy. Intolerances of certain foods like spicy foods, acidic foods, wheat, gluten, and caffeine can cause some men’s prostatitis symptoms. Other possible dietary causes include zinc deficiency, dehydration, and caffeine consumption. Environmental pollutants and food additives are on the list as well. One example is BPA (bisphenol-A), a common ingredient in plastics and plastic products that also seeps into the food supply.
Other medical problems may be nonbacterial prostatitis causes. Dysfunctions or malformations such as blocked ejaculatory ducts, dysfunctional epithelium, urethral stricture, prostatic calcification (prostate stones), regional pain syndrome, genetics and hormones, and stop-and-go urination or other urinary problems (especially if due to an enlarged prostate) can all lead to inflammation or in increased risk of CPPS.
Determining Nonbacterial Prostatitis Causes
Overall, this list represents a brief overview of many of the main factors that are involved in causing chronic prostatitis. Because chronic prostatitis is a challenging disease to identify and diagnose, you should consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you experience symptoms of prostatitis. Your cooperation and honesty about your prostatitis symptoms, lifestyle, and habits will help your doctor rule out similar conditions to prostatitis, make a diagnosis, and select the most appropriate prostatitis treatment (or treatments, as you will most likely need several types of treatment to get best results) as soon as possible.