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In my previous article, I started a series on how men can have a healthy prostate. I wrote about the prostate gland — what it is, what it does and where it’s located in the body.
The prostate is a gland located between the bladder and penis, and the urethra runs through it. Its main function is to produce fluid that nourishes, protects, and allows sperm to move freely.
In this post, I write about the ways you can minimize your risk of having prostatitis.
What is prostatitis
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate. Hence, it becomes swollen, red and painful, leading to the following symptoms:
- Pain during urination
- Pain during ejaculation
- Pain in the penis
- Pain in the scrotum
- Pain between the scrotum and anus
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pain in the lower back
- Frequent urination
- Uncontrollable urge to urinate
- A weak or interrupted urine
- Bloody urine
As you can see, the symptoms of prostatitis can be difficult to deal with. Take a look at the image below.
The enlargement of the prostate as a result of inflammation, causes it to press upon the urethra. Therefore, this leads to painful urination, incomplete emptying of the bladder, frequent urination, etc.
The first step in knowing how to prevent prostatitis is knowing its causes and risk factors. Therefore, before looking at how you can reduce your risk of prostatitis, let’s see the causes of the condition.
Causes of prostatitis
Prostatitis can be classified as Acute/Chronic bacteria prostatitis or Chronic non-bacteria prostatitis/Pelvic pain syndrome.
Acute/Chronic bacterial prostatitis is caused by bacteria, usually the same microorganisms that cause urinary tract infections or sexually transmitted infections. This is because of the proximity of the prostate to the organs affected by UTIs and STIs.
Bacterial prostatitis is acute if the symptoms develop quickly and last for a short time due to treatment. But if the symptoms persist and reoccur after treatment, it’s said to be chronic.
Chronic non-bacteria prostatitis/Chronic pelvic pain syndrome is not caused by bacteria. They are caused by nerve damage in the pelvic area as a result of trauma (injury from cycling, horse riding, etc) or surgery.
Use of urinary catheter can also increase the risk for prostatitis.
How to minimize your risk of having prostatitis
i. Prevent Urinary tract infections by:
- Drinking more of water than alcohol, soda or caffeine.
- Emptying your bladder immediately after sexual intercourse.
- Completely emptying your bladder whenever you pee.
- Avoiding unprotected sex.
ii. Preventing Sexually transmitted infections by
- Avoiding unprotected sex
- Avoiding sex with multiple partners.
iii. Reducing your consumption of bladder irritants such as spicy foods, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages, etc.
The same way spicy foods such as pepper and chili irritate your bladder and make you pee often, irritate your eyes and make them watery, irritate your skin and make you sweaty, they can also irritate your prostate.
iv. Prevent pelvic injury by
- Not riding a bike or bicycle for too long.
- If you experience pain while cycling, consider checking the bike fit, changing the saddle, or upgrading the padding.
- Avoid sitting for too long.
The pelvic injury occurs when the nerve of the pelvis (pudendal nerve) is injured.
Treatment Recommendations For Prostatitis
If you are already experiencing symptoms of prostatitis go and see your doctor immediately.
- Your prostatic fluid will be collected and examined to know if it’s bacterial prostatitis.
- If you have acute bacterial prostatitis, you’ll be given an appropriate antibiotic (one that the microorganism is susceptible to) to take for 6 consecutive weeks.
- If you don’t complete the antibiotic therapy, it may lead to complications or chronic bacterial prostatitis.
- If you have prostatitis but it’s not caused by bacteria, antibiotics won’t work and your symptoms won’t improve no matter how long you take antibiotics.
- Therefore, always insist that your prostatic fluid be collected and tested. And ask if you have bacterial prostatitis or not.
- If it’s non-bacterial prostatitis, then physical therapy will be recommended to relieve pain in the pelvic floor. You could also be given medications to relieve pain and a class of drugs called alpha blockers to relax your prostate and bladder.
- While receiving treatment, avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Instead, drink plenty of water so you can urinate more and flush bacteria from your urinary tract.
- Avoid sitting or cycling for long.
- Reduce your intake of spicy foods.
Complications of prostatitis
The following are possible complications of prostatitis, hence why it’s necessary to prevent or treat it promptly.
- Sexual dysfunction and infertility.
- Prostatic abscess — a pus-filled area in the prostate.
- Bacteremia — bacteria infection of the blood.
While prostatitis may be the most common urologic problem of men below 50, if you adhere to the above recommendations, you will reduce your risk of having prostatitis.
In my next article, I write about how you can reduce your risk of benign prostatic hypertrophy (prostate enlargement).
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