Prostate Infection Causes

Prostate infection or prostatitis is the infection of the prostate gland that usually leads to inflammation and pain. Generally, the infection is caused by bacteria that reside in the large intestine. Many a time, an infection in other parts of the body like the urinary bladder and the urethra may also spread to the prostate gland, which is located just below the bladder, and this in turn leads to prostatitis.

Types of Prostatitis

There are four types of prostate infections — acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic nonbacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

Causes: There can be several causes of a prostate infection, depending on the specific type. As the name suggests, acute bacterial prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection, and is marked by the inflammation of the prostate. The infection in the large intestine, urinary bladder, and other parts of urinary tract can spread to the prostate gland and cause an infection. It accounts for almost 5-10% of the total cases of prostatitis.

Symptoms: The symptoms of this particular type are frequent urination, urinary tract infection (UTI), pain in the genital and pelvis area, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and a burning sensation while urinating. This condition, if left untreated, may cause low blood pressure, confusion, and might be fatal in few extreme cases. Delay in treating this condition may also lead to a few serious complications, like pus formation in the prostate, bladder infection, prostate enlargement with tenderness and irregularity; in severe cases, the urine flow might get blocked completely.

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

Causes: The causes of chronic bacterial prostatitis are not exactly known, but it is suspected that this disease can be caused by a previous case of bacterial infection of the prostate gland and frequent occurrence of UTI. Hence, it has been surmised that some of the bacteria can remain in the gland after such an infection, and their reactivation can cause this ailment.

Symptoms: Most symptoms of this condition are similar to that of acute bacterial prostatitis, but the severity and intensity is comparatively less. A few other indicants for chronic prostatitis are pain in the back, testes and other reproductive organs, and joint and muscle pain, with mild fever.

Chronic Nonbacterial Prostatitis

Causes: The exact causes of nonbacterial prostatitis are not known, but infectious agents other than bacteria, like viruses and parasites are suspected to be the cause. There are two types of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis — inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Studies suggest that this inflammation can be caused by the reverse flow of urine from the bladder to the prostate gland. This can be due to certain activities like horse riding, cycling, and lifting very heavy objects, especially when the bladder is full. According to medical estimates, about 90% of the cases of prostatitis are caused by unknown factors. Sometimes, infection and abnormalities in the structure of the urinary tract can also be the possible cause, especially the non-bacterial one. This specific type of prostatitis is often confused with interstitial cystitis (chronic inflammation of the bladder).

Symptoms: This type of prostatitis infection shows symptoms similar to acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis, and these indicants may disappear and return without any specific warning.

Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis

Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is characterized by inflammation of the prostate gland, and it does not produce any specific symptom. Neither does this condition have an identified infectious cause, nor do the affected patients feel any chronic pain, unlike the above-mentioned types. Only when the prostate is biopsied for other ailments (possibility of cancer, infertility or elevated PSA, i.e., prostate specific antigen), white blood cells are found in the urine.

Various Diagnostic Methods

Prostate infections are usually diagnosed by a physical examination of the organ, as an enlarged and firm or tender prostate can indicate a possible case of infection. Urine analysis, blood culture, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI are carried out to confirm the diagnosis. Besides these, there are several other tests which involve the examination of urine samples collected before and after a prostatic massage. These conditions are mainly treated with antibiotics. However, they are not effective in curing the non-bacterial type of prostatitis, and therefore, treatment is mainly individual-specific.

In addition to the treatment, it is very important to drink plenty of water, avoid certain strenuous activities like horse riding, cycling, biking and jogging, to prevent any further occurrence of this condition, and also to maintain prostate health.