What Is Prostatitis?
What is prostatitis? Prostatitis is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes inflamed and can cause significant discomfort, pain, and a variety of other sexual health related symptoms. There are many types of prostatitis, some of which are caused by bacteria and others, the more chronic kind, possibly being caused by a multitude of other factors including stress, tension, and lifestyle. In fact, for decades most doctors and Urologists have been bewildered and at a loss to explain what actually causes the long-term chronic prostatitis known as “chronic pelvic pain syndrome” (CPPS), the most common prostatitis disorder affecting 95% of complaints. Treatment for CPPS was traditionally focused on the prostate itself whereas more modern day treatments are taking a multimodal “whole body” approach encompassing naturopathic and traditional medicine and alternative treatments.
Is It Really a Prostate Disease? Or Something Else?
Most diagnosed cases of CPPS are actually problems of chronically tightened muscles of the pelvis, more like a “charley horse” up inside the pelvis, and are not problems of the prostate gland itself. In recent years, a lot of research has shown that approximately 90-95% of men typically complaining of pelvic pain have no prostate pathology and no infection found by culture. Even the evidence of inflammation (white cells found in the prostatic fluid) do not account for their symptoms because even when inflammation is removed, their symptoms remain. Most symptoms that are diagnosed as “prostatitis” are not caused by an “itis” of the prostate at all. This is the reason why antibiotics and anti-inflammatories fail to resolve CPPS symptoms.
The problems of genital, rectal, perineal pain, urinary symptoms, and sitting discomfort have nothing to do with the prostate gland in many men. Nevertheless, most doctors currently continue to use the term prostatitis and treat men’s complaints of pelvic pain and urinary dysfunction as if these symptoms were caused by an infection or inflammation of the prostate. In careful studies conducted over the past decades of treating the prostate in such men, the majority of men derive no lasting relief from treatment with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs aimed at treating the prostate gland.
How Common Is It?
If you think it can’t happen to you because you’re too young or you feel great right now, think again. Up to 50% of men will experience prostatitis at some point during their lives. In fact, prostatitis most often occurs in younger and middle-aged men than in older men.
Even if you don’t have prostatitis right now, there’s a pretty good chance you will in the future, as prostatitis may be the most prevalent of all prostate-related diseases. Therefore, it pays to know as much as you can about the prostate gland and this common problem so you can help prevent it or learn the best ways to manage and treat it, and keep it from coming back. Prostatitis can be a confusing and debilitating disease, but learning about prostatitis, prostatitis symptoms, causes, treatments, and ways to prevent prostatitis will allow you to seek help and prepare you for living with and managing your prostatitis symptoms.
What is the Prostate?
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system and is a structure located immediately beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. It’s also important to know that the prostate gland wraps around the urethra. The urethra is the tube that transports fluids (urine, semen) out of the body from the end of the penis. Therefore, if the prostate gland becomes inflamed, it can squeeze the urethra and cause various urinary problems. Urinary symptoms commonly occur in men who have prostatitis alongside the other symptoms of pelvic pain and sexual discomfort.
Although all males are born with a prostate gland, it does not become active until they reach puberty. That’s when the gland grows to its healthy size, which is about the size of a walnut and weighing one ounce.
During puberty is also when the prostate gland begins to function as a reproductive gland. The main job of the prostate gland is to secrete a fluid that becomes part of the seminal fluid, which carries sperm. When males have an orgasm, muscles in the prostate contract and help transport the prostate fluid and sperm into the urethra. Then the semen travels along the urethra and leaves the body through the end of the penis during ejaculation.
If you are suffering from urinary and/or other pelvic and sexual pain, it is possible that you could be diagnosed with some form of prostatitis although there could be other reasons for the inflammation and urinary symptoms such as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Only your Urologist or specialist can give you the correct diagnosis after performing various tests for prostatitis including testing for the presence of bacteria. There are four types of prostatitis, and three of them have similar symptoms with some slight differences. One type even has no symptoms. Many of the factors that can inflame your prostate, or cause symptoms, are based on your lifestyle, so you want to learn what steps you can take in your life to help protect your prostate and prevent prostatitis.
Taking a “Whole Body” Approach to Healing Your Pain
Finally, even though the prostate is the main organ that is usually blamed for common symptoms, there is a strong medical and naturopathic recognition of lifestyle and other neuromuscular tension-related causes of prostatitis, especially in cases of long-term chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS). Recognizing factors that can be causing the pain and discomfort such as stress, anxiety, foods, lifestyle and other causes can go a long way to helping you manage your disorder and reduce the pain and symptoms. In cases of CPPS, multimodal therapy with medications, lifestyle changes, acupuncture, phytotherapy, supplements, pelvic trigger point therapy and other natural and alternative treatments can all provide a total overall approach to treatment.