What Causes Chronic Prostatitis Flare-ups?

Prostatitis is the reason for around 8% of urologist visits and about 1% of all visits to a general practitioner in the United States. 

Reports estimate that roughly 50% of men develop prostatitis symptoms in their lifetime. 

Those who were previously diagnosed with the condition have a 20% to 50% risk of recurrence. 

Many people talk about prostatitis, but few focus on its flare up.

Here, we will take a closer look at each flare-up, its symptoms, causes, and treatment. 

What Is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is a typical urologic disease, with 35% to 50% of men experiencing a different prostatitis symptom. This is a painful ailment that causes inflammation of the prostate. Sometimes the inflammation can affect other areas around the prostate.

Experts have identified a few prostatitis types. These include:

Asymptomatic prostatitis doesn’t trigger any symptoms. A health care expert can diagnose the type of prostatitis you have. They can also test the urinary tract for reproductive tract disorders, prostatitis complications, or prostate problems. 

Symptoms of a Prostatitis Flare-up

You are feeling good. So, you overdo it, only to end up with a prostatitis flare up. This is when you feel a sudden outburst of pain and discomfort. Depending on the type of prostatitis, the impact of the flare-up can vary.

For example, patients with chronic bacterial prostatitis often deal with symptoms that ebb and flow. When there is a prostatitis flare up, the aches tend to develop primarily at the base of their penis. They can occur around the anus or in the lower back and over the pubic bone from time to time. 

With chronic bacterial prostatitis, it’s not uncommon for the pain to spread to the rest of the penis and testes. At times, men can have trouble relieving themselves in the toilet. That’s because the passing stools during a flare-up can be painful. 

Some patients also develop urine infection symptoms with the passing of the urine, such as pain when urinating and a frequent need to urinate. Symptoms such as these are quite like those found in acute bacterial prostatitis. 

But, patients with a flare-up of chronic bacterial prostatitis are often not as sick as those dealing with acute prostatitis. For instance, a high fever is less likely to happen. With chronic prostatitis, the symptoms can subside with adequate antibiotic treatment.

But, if the antibiotics don’t really clear the prostate gland infection, then you may still be prone to a flare-up. You could also develop some mild urinary issues or residual pain between a flare-up. You may endure frequent passing urine or an urgent need to urinate.

A chronic pelvic pain syndrome is recognized by steady and severe pain. It can come and go, like in waves. The pain can be sharp, cramping, or a dull ache. It may also build a feeling of heaviness or pressure deep within the pelvis. 

The pelvic pain during a flare-up can disrupt your daily life. If the symptoms of the pelvic pain seem to be getting worse and the discomfort is no longer mild, then contact a specialist. Your doctor can help you mitigate pelvic pain. 

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What Triggers Prostatitis Flare-Ups?

Research on men’s health states that depression and psychological stress are closely related to chronic pelvic pain syndrome flare-ups. Other typical triggers may include infection, sedentary lifestyle, diet, and sexual activity. Certain physical activities and allergic reactions may have a similar effect. 

Prostatitis is a prostate ailment that often results in painful urination and other problems. The infection can emerge the moment bacteria in the urine leak into the prostate. 

Then, we also need to consider sedentary behaviors. Sitting for extended periods puts pressure on the gland and inflames it. This can lead to a flare-up. 

The food you eat also plays a key role in your prostate health. Processed foods, red meat, dairy, alcohol, and saturated fats are a no-go with prostatitis. 

Another thing to point out is a flare-up with sex. Many men report having a flare-up right after sex. It’s a typical trigger for a major portion of the population. 

Of course, flare-ups are more complicated than that. Everyone has their own flare-up triggers. This means that what is a trigger for you may not be a trigger for someone else. To know what’s causing your flare-ups, talk to your doctor. 

How Long Can a Flare-up of Prostatitis Last?

It’s difficult to tell how long a prostatitis flare-up can last. Depending on what’s causing the flare-up, the duration can vary. 

Talk to your doctor when a flare-up becomes overbearing and lasts too long. Experts are well-versed in managing prostatitis syndromes and bladder problems. 

Natural Treatments for Symptoms of Prostatitis Flare-Ups

Most doctors prescribe antibiotic therapy for acute bacterial prostatitis. Your doctor will prescribe adequate treatment based on the bacteria causing it. Prostatitis treatment for bacterial prostatitis must first eliminate the bacteria leading to prostatitis urinary symptoms. 

If you don’t use antibiotics for bacterial prostatitis to get rid of the bacteria, then you can develop hard-to-treat and recurring infections. Between bouts of persistent bacterial prostatitis, you could have severe symptoms or just minor ones. 

Doctors may recommend IV (intravenous) antibiotics for severe bacterial prostatitis symptoms. This is to ensure that the bacterial prostatitis is properly treated. If the bladder neck and muscle fibers need to be relaxed to ease the urination troubles, doctors often recommend alpha-blockers

Natural treatments are not meant to replace conventional bacterial prostatitis medicine. They are here to ease some of the symptoms and curb the prostatitis flare-ups. 

The treatments you can try at home include:

  • Soaking in a sitz bath (warm bath).
  • Applying a heating pad to the affected area.
  • Consuming drinks free of caffeine to urinate more often and flush the bacteria out of the bladder. 
  • Take a break from acidic and spicy foods, including caffeine and alcohol. These foods can and will irritate your bladder, especially if you have bacterial prostatitis, urinary tract infection, or an enlarged prostate

Alternative treatment can also help, particularly one that can benefit the prostate gland in general, like acupuncture, for example. The gland is important for producing prostatic fluid and transporting sperm. 

Based on one study, acupuncture has a solid clinical efficacy in alleviating pain from prostate cancer. This alternative therapy can also ease some of the symptoms of prostate disorders. 

So, it could come in handy for bacterial prostatitis, chronic abacterial prostatitis, frequent urination, weak urine stream, complete bladder emptying, and more. 

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When to See a Doctor

If you develop pain in the pelvis or struggle with chronic pelvic pain, talk to a doctor. Chronic pelvic pain paired with urination troubles and a bacterial infection can put a lot of strain on your sex life. 

If your prostate gland isn’t functioning properly, get your urinary tract back in shape. Book a doctor’s appointment to stop the infection from getting worse. 

How Can You Naturally Prevent Prostatitis Flare-Ups?

Treating acute bacterial prostatitis and nonbacterial prostatitis can be a challenge. You can’t really prevent a prostatitis infection. But, you can make some lifestyle changes that could benefit the prostate, urinary tract, and reproductive system.

Good hygiene should be a top priority. Whether you have a bacterial infection or nonbacterial prostatitis, keeping the penis and the area around it clean can prevent additional infections. Try to move around more often to decrease the pressure on the prostate gland. 

Hydration with nonbacterial prostatitis and bacterial prostatitis is equally beneficial. The types of prostatitis caused by bacteria in the urinary tract could use a lot of water. 

When you drink water, you dilute the urine and help the body flush out the bacteria. Besides, hydration and urination go hand in hand. 

Experts suggest you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. When dealing with a prostate infection, prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate cancer, try to stay hydrated throughout the day and limit your water intake before you go to sleep at night. That way, you won’t have to wake up to urinate repeatedly. 

Try to manage your stress as well. Men who experience severe and regular stress have bigger odds of having prostatitis. Research shows that workplace stress is also associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer before the age of 65. 

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, prostate cancer can also worsen stress. If you find it difficult to cope with the stress alone, talk to an expert. They can also help you mitigate the impact of non-bacterial prostatitis, bacterial prostatitis, prostate stones, or whatever problems you might be dealing with. 

Conclusion

The prostate goes through a big ordeal when it is affected by prostatitis or any infection in general. The pain can really hinder your daily routines and affect your quality of life. 

The pain during flare-ups can be quite the handful. The sudden increase in pain puts a strain on the prostate. 

When the pain is no longer mild or lasts for a long time, it’s best to talk to a doctor. Describe the prostate symptoms you have, and the doctor can help identify the problem. With adequate treatment, you can keep the pain at bay. 

Don’t forget to book a doctor’s appointment for a regular prostate check-up if you have some aches and discomfort. It’s important to rule out an infection or any serious ailment, particularly in older patients.

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Sources

  1. Paulis G. Inflammatory mechanisms and oxidative stress in prostatitis: the possible role of antioxidant therapy. Res Rep Urol. 2018;10:75-87. Published 2018 Sep 17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6149977/
  2. Rees J, Abrahams M, Doble A, Cooper A; Prostatitis Expert Reference Group (PERG). Diagnosis and treatment of chronic bacterial prostatitis and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a consensus guideline. BJU Int. 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008168/
  3. Wang J, Lei Y, Bao B, Yu X, Dai H, Chen F, Li H, Wang B. Acupuncture for pain caused by prostate cancer: Protocol for a systematic review. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30633174/
  4. Blanc-Lapierre A, Rousseau MC, Parent ME. Perceived Workplace Stress Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer before Age 65. Front Oncol. 2017 Nov. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29181335/

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