What is chronic pelvic pain/prostatitis?
Prostatitis is a condition characterised by the inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. It can cause symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain, as well as pain or difficulty when urinating.
The prostate gland is situated directly beneath the bladder in men. It is approximately walnut-sized and produces the semen which transports and nourishes the sperm.
While prostatitis is understood to be more common in men who are younger than 50, it can affect men of any age. The condition can develop rapidly or gradually and could improve quickly, especially with treatment. In other cases, prostatitis can keep on recurring. This is known as chronic prostatitis.
Symptoms of prostatitis
One prevalent symptom of prostatitis is chronic pelvic pain syndrome, which is a non-malignant pain in the nerves and muscles of the pelvis. Pelvic pain has to be experienced for at least six months continuously in order to be considered chronic.
Aside from pelvic pain, other prostatitis symptoms can include; difficulty when urinating; pain when urinating; a burning sensation when urinating; the urgent need to urinate; frequently needing to urinate, particularly at night; blood in the urine; cloudy urine; pain when ejaculating; discomfort or pain in the penis; discomfort or pain in the testicles; and the signs and symptoms of flu.
In general, prostatitis symptoms can be dictated by the cause, which we will come onto next.
Causes of prostatitis
Acute bacterial prostatitis is typically caused by common bacteria strains, and can begin after the urine containing bacteria has leaked into the prostate. For cases in which prostatitis has not been caused by a bacterial infection, nerve damage to the lower urinary tract - caused by trauma or surgery - could be a factor. There are many cases of prostatitis which have no identifiable cause.
There are several known risk factors for developing prostatitis. You are understood to be more likely to get prostatitis if; you are below the age of 50; you have undergone a prostate biopsy; you have had the condition before; you have pelvic trauma, or you have an infection of the bladder or urethra.
Treatment options for prostatitis
Prostatitis is usually diagnosed using methods such as; blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests (CT scan, MRI scan or ultrasound) and post-prostatic massage.
The treatment you will be offered is likely to depend on the type of prostatitis you are found to have. Among the main types of the condition are; acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic prostatitis and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
For chronic (non-bacterial) prostatitis, which is typically accompanied by chronic pelvic pain and is the most common form of prostatitis, treatment options can include; alpha-blockers, which can be used to address prostate gland enlargement; antibiotics, which may have anti-inflammatory properties or clear some bacteria that have not yet been identified; stress management, including pain-relieving techniques; and other medicines such as finasteride, which can shrink the prostate.
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