All about prostatitis

taken from Small Gland, Big Problem 4th Edition
by Professor Roger Kirby, Health Press 2011

Prostatitis literally means ‘inflammation of the prostate’. In fact, by no means every patient suffering from prostatitis actually has an inflamed prostate, so the name is rather misleading. In the UK, the condition accounts for almost one-quarter of all consultations with a urologist.

Patients with prostatitis often suffer pain and discomfort in the area around and between the anus and scrotum, and just above the pubic bone. Men with the condition may have to urinate frequently and this can be very inconvenient. There may also be a burning sensation at the time of urination and/ or some discomfort during or after ejaculation (see below for a more complete list of symptoms). Although prostatitis is often considered to be the result of a bacterial infection in the prostate, inflammation, when present, more commonly occurs spontaneously. Some studies suggest that in the absence of infection, inflammation may result from urine being forced backwards up the prostatic ducts at the time of urination. Recently, the question has been raised as to whether, in the long run, inflammation can lead on eventually to prostate cancer. This is a possibility because the inflammatory cells that infiltrate the prostate release chemicals that cause oxidative stress and thereby damage DNA in prostate cells.

Even when infection is the source of inflammation, it may be difficult to eradicate because the bacteria responsible tend to be inaccessible to antibiotics. This is because they usually lurk deep inside the prostate (for example, the bacteria may be inside the tiny stones that form in the prostatic ducts).