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What is Nonbacterial Prostatitis?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Nonbacterial prostatitis is a medical disorder that causes inflammation of the prostate gland. The condition is most common in men between the ages of 15 and 40, though doctors are unsure of its exact causes. A man with nonbacterial prostatitis may experience pain when urinating or ejaculating, frequent urges to urinate, and chronic soreness in the groin area. Left untreated, symptoms tend to persist or worsen over time. Depending on the severity of a person's condition, treatment usually involves home remedies or prescription medications to relieve discomfort.

Many instances of prostatitis are related to bacterial infections, which are relatively easy to identify and treat. The causes of nonbacterial prostatitis, however, are more difficult to determine. Doctors believe that prostatitis may arise from an underlying disorder in the immune system, high stress levels, or injuries to the groin or prostate. Some clinical evidence suggests that men who have a family history of prostate problems are at an increased risk of developing nonbacterial prostatitis.

Symptoms of nonbacterial prostatitis include frequent urination, difficulty sleeping, and sharp pains when urinating or ejaculating. A person might also experience a dull, constant pain in their prostate, groin, abdomen, or lower back that makes everyday activities difficult. In addition, prostatitis can eventually lead to infertility in some individuals. It is common for a man to experience days or weeks of severe symptoms between relatively symptom-free periods, though pain often does not thoroughly subside until treatment is sought. An individual who suspects that he has prostatitis should consult a physician to obtain the correct diagnosis and learn about treatment options.

A doctor can conduct a physical examination and order laboratory analyses of urine and semen to make a diagnosis of nonbacterial prostatitis. During the physical exam, the doctor will insert his or her finger into the rectum to feel the prostate, determining whether it is inflamed, swollen, tender, or abnormally hard. Semen and urine analyses can be used to rule out bacterial infections and check for possible immune system disorders. Once a diagnosis of prostatitis has been made, the physician can decide on the best course of treatment.

Individuals with mildly uncomfortable cases of nonbacterial prostatitis may be able to find relief through simple home remedies and changes to their dietary habits. Avoiding tight clothing, sitting on cushions, and taking frequent warm baths can ease the tension and inflammation of the prostate gland. Many people experience less symptoms when they abstain from alcohol and limit their intake of caffeine and spicy dishes.

More severe symptoms may require prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce swelling and inflammation. Oral medicines known as alpha blockers can remove tension from the area where the prostate meets the bladder, which can help ease the pain and lessen the frequency of urination. With treatment, symptoms may start to subside in as little as one week, though regular checkups are recommended so that prostate health can be maintained.

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