The most common condition that affects the prostate is inflammation, which is also known as prostatitis. Since the prostate gland is connected to the urethra and grows in a ring around the neck of the bladder, if the gland becomes swollen, a patient may lose the ability to urinate comfortably.
Urination may become painful and in extreme cases even impossible. Depending upon its severity, a swollen prostate gland can be treated with surgery, antibiotics and even massage therapy. Prostatitis can often be the result of a bacterial infection as well.
One form of prostate gland inflammation is benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, a prostate condition that only affects older men. Basically, benign prostatic hyperplasia is a swelling of the prostate gland that does not result as an effect of prostate cancer.
Unfortunately, since the prostate gland grows wrapped around the upper portion of the urethra, if it swells, negative side-effects can result. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy.
Bacterial infection can also cause swelling of the prostate gland. The most severe form of prostatitis caused by infections is called acute bacterial prostatitis. Men who are afflicted with acute bacterial prostatitis will go through fever and chills, and may feel as if they have come down with the flu.
Other symptoms can include pain in the prostate gland itself, or in the lower back or genitals, painful ejaculation, urinary problems such as increased urgency and frequency to urinate, difficult or painful urination, the inability to empty the bladder completely and sometimes traces of blood in the urine itself.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is also caused by infection. This form of inflammation is not as worrisome as acute bacterial prostatitis, and the symptoms may develop more slowly over a longer period of time. In addition, the degree of the symptoms may alternate back and forth from mild to severe, making it difficult to determine that a persistent condition is the cause of the inflammation.
Symptoms of chronic bacterial prostatitis include greater frequency and urgency of urination, painful urination, pain in the prostate, lower back or genitals, excessive nighttime urination, weakened stream, blood in semen or in the urine, painful ejaculation, a slight fever and repeated bladder infections.
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is the most common form on inflammation of the prostate gland. Symptoms are very similar to chronic bacterial prostatitis, but with almost no chance of fever.
The biggest difference between the two, besides the fact that the nonbacterial variety is not caused by an infection, is that tests will obviously not detect bacteria in samples of urine or prostate fluid. However, depending upon the type of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, there may be white blood cells or even pus in the urine or semen.
Another type of prostatitis exists, asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, but this form does not require treatment. Symptoms of prostatitis may also indicate other conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia or even prostate cancer, so if you are displaying symptoms it is important that you receive a checkup by an accredited doctor.