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The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men that surrounds the urethra. It is located just under the male bladder and it is an integral part of the male reproductive system.

What are the prostate functions?


It produces semen, the fluid that helps nourish and transport sperm. It also helps ejaculation because of the squeezing contractions of the prostate during the orgasm.

It is proven that the prostate goes through 2 main periods of growth:

    * The first period of growth occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size.
    * This second phase of growth often results in what constitutes an enlarged prostate. As the prostate becomes larger, the layer of tissue surrounding it stops it from expanding, causing the prostate to press against the urethra.

What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is a term used for describing the prostate infection. Since women do not have a prostate gland, it is a condition only found in men. These infections are usually caused by the bacteria, but there is also a nonbacterial form of the disease.

There are several risk factors associated with the prostate infection and the most common include the following: recent urinary tract infection, prior sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or chlamidia, smoking, excess alcohol consumption and others.

Prostatitis is the most common genitourinary infection in men under the age of 50. Problem is that, although this infection isn't too serious, if left untreated, it can spread to other structures such as testicles and epididymis and, in severe cases, destroy the prostate gland.

Signs and symptoms of prostatitis

An inflamed prostate can cause a variety of symptoms and the most common are:

   1. Recurrent urinary tract infections
   2. Frequent and urgent urination
   3. Difficult or painful urination
   4. Urinating at night
   5. Fever and chills
   6. Generalized sense of ill health
   7. Painful ejaculation
   8. Bloody semen
   9. Sexual dysfunction
  10. Pain in the lower back, pelvis, or perineum

Types of prostatitis

Depending on what caused it and how long does it last, there are four types of prostatitis:

   1. Acute bacterial prostatitis – This is a form that is relatively easy to diagnose because of the characteristic symptoms. Men with this disease often have chills, fever, pain in the lower back and genital area, increased urinary frequency especially during the night.
   2. Chronic bacterial prostatitis – Recurrent urinary tract infections in men that are spread from a chronic infection in the prostate.
      In this case, the symptoms of prostate infection are mildly expressed or there are no symptoms at all. Most common symptoms are simple urinary tract infection symptoms such as painful urinating or burning sensations.
   3. Chronic non-bacterial prostatitis – The fact is that this is a poorly understood form of the disease. Symptoms can vary in intensity significantly, from mild discomfort to totally debilitating. If we talk about the mechanism of the infection, it can be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. In the inflammatory form, the urine and semen show no evidence of any known infecting organisms and in the non-inflammatory form, no evidence of inflammation, including infection-fighting cells, is present. This is very confusing for the scientists. So, some of them even suggested the autoimmune theories about the chronic non-bacterial prostatitis.

The most probable suggested causes are:

          * Heavy lifting.
          * Certain occupations - driving a truck or operating heavy machinery.
          * Physical activity – Excessive exercises, especially cycling, may irritate your prostate gland.
          * Pelvic muscle spasms.  
          * Structural abnormalities of the urinary tract.

   4. Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis - This is a very dangerous form of the disease because there are no symptoms that could indicate the prostate infection. There is no pain or discomfort but there are white blood cells in the semen. 

Diagnosis of prostatitis

The symptoms and physical findings are enough to form a diagnosis of prostatitis in most cases. But sometimes, prostatitis can be difficult to diagnose, primarily because its signs and symptoms often resemble several other conditions. Rectal examination is also a very good diagnostic method because the swollen prostate can be felt under fingers. It can also be very sore.

Culture of the prostate fluids can also be taken in order to find some microorganism. It is taken by squeezing the gland slightly or via digital massage. When the prostate is inflamed, the fluid should contain a large number of white blood cells.

If doctor still has some doubts, he may insert a special instrument called a cystoscope through the penis to view the prostate directly from the inside.

Treatment of prostatitis

Medications

Depending on the type of prostatitis you have, certain medications may help you get rid of or control your symptoms. These medications include:

   1. Antibiotics – Before the use of antibiotics, samples of prostatic fluid are tested to determine which bacterium is causing the infection and which drugs should be prescribed to fight the specific bacterium. The treatment may last 4 to 12 weeks, depending on how severe the infection is.
   2. alpha-blockers
   3. pain relievers
   4. muscle relaxants

Exercises

   1. Exercise for the prostate – These include stretching and relaxing the lower pelvic muscles
   2. Biofeedback - This technique teaches you how to control certain body responses, including relaxing your muscles.
   3. Sitz baths - Exposing the perineum to very hot water for 20 minutes or longer often relieves pain.
   4. Prostate massage - Kegel exercises increase pelvic circulation and improve muscle tone.
   5. Frequent ejaculation - Ejaculating two or three times a week is often recommended for patients with prostatitis, especially when taking antibiotics.

Surgical procedures

If a patient has a bacterial form of the disease and antibiotics didn’t improve the symptoms, surgery may be recommended to open the blocked ducts. It is very important to know that surgery is not a treatment for nonbacterial prostatitis.

Alternative treatment

Prostate drainage method

This is a treatment that was first popularized in the Philippines. It is performed by inserting a finger into the rectum at regular intervals to increase pressure on the prostate and at the same time an antibiotic treatment is given.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine

They can also be effective in treating prostatitis. They may improve urinary flow and decrease swelling and inflammation.

Adequate nutrition

1.    Patient should eat whole, fresh, unrefined, and unprocessed foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, soy, beans, seeds, nuts, olive oil, and cold-water fish

2.    Every patient with prostatitis should definitely avoid sugar, dairy products, refined foods, fried foods, junk foods, and caffeine.

3.    Drink 50% of your body weight in ounces of water daily

Nutritional supplements

Although it is not well understood how they work, some natural remedies have helped men manage the symptoms of prostatitis.

Many natural supplements are intended to provide nutritional support.

Some of the most common supplements are:

    * Bromelain - Take 400 mg 3 times daily away from meals.
    * Proteolytic enzymes – They have anti-inflammatory properties and can increase the effectiveness of antibiotics.
    * Vitamin C - Take 500-1000 mg 3 times daily.
    * Vitamin E - Take 400 IUs daily.
    * Flaxseed meal – Take 2-4 tablespoons daily. Flaxseed meal is a good choice because of its fiber, lignan, and vitamin content.
    * Probiotics - Supplement with Probiotics, such as acidophilus, if taken with antibiotics, can be beneficial for intestinal flora
    * Quercetin – Natural supplement with strong anti-inflammatory properties.
    * Selenium - It is an antioxidant, maybe more effective when taken with vitamin E.
    * Zinc - Take 30 mg daily. Zinc is vital to the health of the prostate, which concentrates and secretes zinc. Zinc also prevents infections. It is believed to play a critical role in cell growth and differentiation, in regulating normal cell death, as well as in building the immune response.

Herbal natural supplements

Herbal medicines are very good and effective and what's best about them it that they usually do not have side effects when used appropriately and at suggested doses.

Several herbs may be used to treat prostatitis and associated urinary tract infections:

    * Bearberry - Acts as a diuretic and antiseptic for the urinary tract system.
    * Echinacea and goldenseal - Used to treat infections because of their antiviral and antibacterial properties.
    * Flower pollen extract – This herbal supplement has been used in Europe for over three decades to treat prostatitis. However, keep in mind that flower pollen is not the same as bee pollen.
    * Pellitory of the Wall - Has anti-inflammatory action in the urinary tract.
    * Saw palmetto - Provides several beneficial effects on the prostate and the urinary tract.

Read More: Prostatitis cure & treatment



Several other herbs that are being used:

    * Uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva ursi): diuretic, urinary antiseptic
    * Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): diuretic, antiseptic, antimicrobial
    * Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): improves immune function
    * Corn silk (Zea mays): diuretic, soothing demulcent

There is one other thing that every patient with prostatitis should know and keep in mind. Various herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to treat prostatitis. Therefore, you should talk to your GP about possible interactions before use of any of those herbs.

  • www.urologychannel.com
  • www.MayoClinic.com
  • www.naturesfoodpatch.com