Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland that affects as many as 50% of men at some point during their lives. It is not a life threatening condition, but chronic prostatitis can make life miserable. The four main symptoms are pain, difficulty urinating, sexual dysfunction, and general health concerns such as fatigue, flu-like feelings, and depression. In addition, as with most irritants to the prostate, it’s common to have an elevated PSA.
This irritation of the prostate gland can be caused by a number of different factors, and because it’s not always clear what the cause is, it is difficult to treat. Causes include
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Irregular sexual activity
- Irritation or injury to the pelvic bed
Treatment is sometimes a process of ruling a cause in or out. For example, if fever or achiness is present, a bacterial infection will be suspected, and if an antibiotic is helpful, then the cause was clearly bacterial. But it’s not always that easy. Some men try different treatments over a long course of time, only to get little or temporary relief.
The symptoms of prostatitis can mimic a few signs of later stage prostate cancer: elevated PSA, urination problems, erectile difficulties, painful ejaculation. Before jumping to conclusions, it’s a good idea to have a 3T multiparametric MRI and an experienced reader to interpret it. This high-tech imaging is generally accepted as the best way to distinguish anatomy within the prostate gland. Many kinds of prostatitis confound less experienced radiologists, who may misread normal (but inflamed) anatomic structures as suspicious lesions.
At the Sperling Prostate Center, we unite sophisticated technology and the expert ability to interpret our prostate images that comes with both experience and collaboration with global authorities. If prostatitis is troubling you, or you’re worried you may have prostate cancer, consider coming in for a consultation and learn what we can do to make your life easier.