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Prostate Infection

Prostatitis is usually caused by bacteria, but a nonbacterial form of the disease also exists. Prostatitis is the most common genitourinary ailment in men younger than age 50, but the bacterial form occurs most often in men age 70 and older. If left untreated, infection can spread to the testicles and epididymis (tubules in back of the testis) and, in severe cases, destroy the prostate gland.

Signs and Symptoms

bulletRecurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
bulletFrequent and urgent urination
bulletDifficult or painful urination
bulletUrinating at night
bulletFever; chills
bulletGeneralized sense of ill health
bulletPainful ejaculation
bulletBloody semen
bulletSexual dysfunction
bulletPain in the lower back, pelvis, or perineum (lining of the pelvic area)

 

What Causes It?

Risk factors for prostatitis include the following.

 

bulletRecent urinary tract infection
bulletPrior sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia
bulletSmoking
bulletExcess alcohol consumption

 

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

Your health care provider will do a physical examination of the prostate and use laboratory tests, such as urine analysis or blood cultures.

Treatment Options

Treatment Plan

Antibiotics usually are given by mouth. In cases of sudden and severe prostatitis you may require an intravenous administration. Depending on the severity, treatment last from foyr to six weeks. Stool softeners, anti-inflammatory drugs, and hot sitz baths may all help to relieve symptoms.

Drug Therapies

Prescription

 

bulletAntibiotics—such as ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are recommended for bacterial prostatitis; erythromycin is recommended for nonbacterial prostatitis; various side effects

 

Over the Counter

 

bulletAnti-inflammatory drugs—such as ibuprofen; for pain

 

Surgical Procedures

If fever and pain persist, you may need surgery.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Nutrition

 

bulletVitamin C (1,000 mg three to four times a day)
bulletZinc (60 mg a day) has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate.
bulletSelenium (200 mcg a day) is an antioxidant concentrated in the prostate.
bulletEssential fatty acids (1,000 to 1,500 mg one to two times a day) are anti-inflammatory for optimum prostaglandin concentrations.
bulletPumpkin seeds have been used historically for a healthy prostate.
bulletAvoid simple sugars, alcohol (especially beer), and coffee; drink plenty of water (48 oz. a day).

 

Herbs

Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per 1 cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, or 10 to 20 minutes for roots.

Studies show saw palmetto (Serenoa ripens) may be as effective as Proscar (a common prostate medication). Dose of 160 mg twice a day is difficult to achieve in tea or tincture; extract standardized for 85 to 95 percent of fatty acids and sterols is recommended.

Cernilton, a flower pollen extract (500 to 1,000 mg two to three times a day), has been used extensively in Europe to treat prostatitis caused by inflammation or infection. It also has a contractile effect on the bladder and relaxes the urethra.

 

bulletBearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi): diuretic, urinary antiseptic
bulletGoldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): diuretic, antiseptic, antimicrobial
bulletConeflower (Echinacea purpurea): improves immune function
bulletCorn silk (Zea mays): diuretic, soothing demulcent

 

Take a combination of the above herbs (1 cup tea or 60 drops tincture three times a day).

Homeopathy

Some of the most common remedies used for prostatitis are listed below. Usually, the dose is 12X to 30C every one to four hours until your symptoms get better.

 

bulletChimaphila umbellata for retention of urine with an enlarged prostate
bulletPulsatilla for pain after urination, especially involuntary urination
bulletPareira for painful urination, especially with painful urging
bulletLycopodium for painful urination with reddish sediment in the urine, especially with impotence
bulletThuja specifically if there is a forked stream of urine

 

Physical Medicine

Kegel exercises increase pelvic circulation and improve muscle tone.

Contrast sitz baths: You will need two basins that you can comfortably sit in. Fill one basin with hot water, one with cold water. Sit in hot water for three minutes, then in cold water for one minute. Repeat this three times to complete one set. Do one to two sets a day, three to four days a week.

Acupuncture

May improve urinary flow and decrease swelling and inflammation.

Massage

May help reduce symptoms. Focus may be on the lower abdominal area, lower back, and around the sacrum.

Following Up

Be sure you follow your health care provider's instructions for treatment and keep using the treatment as directed even if you start to feel better.

Special Considerations

Men should have a yearly prostate examination after age 40, even if they have no symptoms of prostate problems. In recurring cases, you may need ongoing treatment with periodic checkups.

Supporting Research

Bartram T. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Dorset, England: Grace Publishers; 1995:52, 128, 203.

Berkow R, ed. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 16th ed. Rahway, NJ: The Merck Publishing Group; 1992.

Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Boston, Mass: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998:75, 201.

Buck AC, Rees RWM, Ebeling L. Treatment of chronic prostatitis and prostadynia with pollen extract. Br J Urol. 1989;64:496–499.

Conn RB, Borere WZ, Snyder JW, eds. Current Diagnosis 9. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 1996.

Driscoll CE, Bope ET, Smith CW JR, Carter BL, eds. The Family Practice Desk Reference. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby-Year Book; 1996.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T et al, eds. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 1998:817, 1,229.

Morrison R. Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms. Albany, Calif: Hahnemann Clinic Publishing; 1993:119, 228–231, 341, 388–389.

Murray MT, Pizzorno JE. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, Calif: Prima Publishing; 1998:480–486.

Thierney Jr LM, McPhee SJ, Papadakis MA, eds. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 1999. 38th ed. Stamford, Conn: Appleton & Lange; 1999.

Werbach, M. Nutritional Influences on Illness. New Canaan, Conn: Keats Publishing; 1988:82–84.