Prostatitis

Prostatitis Summary
Prostatitis is a painful condition of the prostate gland. There are four types of prostatitis, acute bacterial, chronic bacterial, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Diagnosis is made with a digital rectal exam, urinalysis, ultrasound, MRI, biopsy, or blood test. Treatment depends upon the type of prostatitis.
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What is the prostate gland?

The prostate is a small organ located at the base of the bladder and wrapped around the urethra, the tube that empties the bladder through the penis. It sits in front of the rectum, and the back portion of the organ can be felt during rectal examination by a health care practitioner.

The prostate's purpose is to help with the male reproductive system. It makes up to 70% of the fluid that is ejaculated during intercourse, mixing its secretions with the sperm that are made in the testicles. The prostate also contracts at the time of ejaculation to prevent retrograde (or backward) flow of semen into the bladder.

Because of its location, the symptoms of any prostate problem tend to be associated with the bladder and can include urgency to urinate, frequency of urination, burning with urination (dysuria), poor urine flow, or inability to begin a urine stream.

Picture of the male reproductive and urinary anatomy
Picture of the male reproductive and urinary anatomy

What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is the general term used to describe prostate inflammation (-itis). Because the term is so general, it does not adequately describe the range of abnormalities that can be associated with prostate inflammation. Therefore, four types of prostatitis are recognized.

What are the types and symptoms of prostatitis?

There are four types of prostatitis:

  • acute bacterial prostatitis
  • chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • chronic prostatitis without infection
  • asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/19/2013

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