The prostate is a glandular organ that is important part of the male reproductive system. The prostatic tissue is located just below the urinary bladder and it surrounds the urethra. Prostatic part of the urethra is joined by the reproductive system (vas deferens). During ejaculation, the sperm travels through the reproductive tract into the urethra where it is accompanied by fluid produced in the prostate. This fluid forms a substantial part of the ejaculate and it includes many substances important for survival of sperm cells in the reproductive tract of a woman.
Acute prostatitis usually results from a bacterial infection. It can be caused by a number of bacteria. The infection usually starts as a urinary tract infection, which affects the prostate. Rarely, the infection can spread into the prostate by blood – this situation can happen in people with weakened immune system. Occasionally, the prostatic inflammation can be caused by a sexually transmitted disease including the gonorrhea (bacteria) and chlamydia (intracellular parasites). In addition, there is increased risk of prostatitis in patients who underwent prostate biopsy. Chronic prostatitis is associated with permanent prostatic colonization by bacteria and it has much less serious symptoms than the acute inflammation.
Acute prostatitis has quite dramatic manifestation including fever, abdominal pain located in the lower abdomen and genital area. This may be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and unpleasant burning pain during urination. The ejaculation is painful and so is the digital rectal examination.
The diagnosis is probable in male patient with the above-mentioned clinical finding. Blood tests show sign of inflammation (elevated sedimentation rate and CRP) and elevated PSA level. PSA is a substance produced by the prostatic cells and it is also used as a tumor marker (i.e. its concentration also raises in prostate cancer).
The main way of treatment is administration of antibiotics, painkillers and adequate hydration of the patient. More severe cases usually require hospitalization. When the urine outflow is blocked by inflamed prostatic tissue, the patient should be catheterized, but this is a very painful procedure in this case.