- Comparison of differences and similarities
- What is prostatitis?
- What is BPH?
- Are prostatitis and BPH the same prostate gland problem?
- How can I tell the difference between prostatitis vs BPH (signs and symptoms)?
- Signs and symptoms of BPH
- Signs and symptoms of prostatitis
- How do you tell the difference?
- What is the prognosis for BPH and prostatitis?
- Are the treatments for prostatitis vs BPH different?
- Medical treatment
- Natural treatments for Prostatitis
- Natural treatments for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
If you want to know the difference between BPH vs prostatitis, you’ve come to the right place.
Inflammation features an increase in the size of a given tissue.
Hyperplasia is almost the same thing, triggered by different reasons.
Thus, two different ailments in the prostate require a closer look to tell the difference.
Prostatitis features inflammation, and BPH features hyperplasia. They have similar symptoms in a similar group of male patients.
As they are, they would be challenging to differentiate if we were not aware of a few key points.
In the next paragraphs, we are going to summarize the most important differences and similarities between Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) vs prostatitis.
After a highlight of the article, we are going to have a deeper look at both conditions.
How can you tell the difference?
What treatments are available, and what’s your prognosis in each case?
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Comparison of differences and similarities
The most important similarities and differences between prostatitis vs BPH are as follows:
- They share similar urinary symptoms, including increased urinary frequency and urgency
- We can treat chronic prostatitis and BPH with alpha-blockers
- Natural treatments in both conditions may include saw palmetto extracts
- Prostatitis features inflammation, and BPH is a structural problem of the prostate
- BPH has more urinary symptoms that won’t be seen in a case of prostatitis
- Prostatitis has symptoms of infectious diseases, such as fever and chills
- Prostatitis is treated with antibiotics
What is prostatitis?
As a result, more liquid is retained in the prostate, and more white blood cells stay in the gland. White blood cells keep on releasing more inflammatory substances, and the process continues forward.
There are many causes of prostatitis and two main types. Acute bacterial prostatitis has a sudden onset. Thus, the symptoms are often more severe. Chronic prostatitis has an insidious onset, and the symptoms are not as severe.
Among the most frequent causes, we have urinary infections and sexually transmitted diseases. However, in many cases, the cause of prostatitis remains unknown (1).
What is BPH?
What is BPH? BPH is short for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. It is an alteration of the prostate tissue itself. There are two types of growth in human tissues. One of them is hypertrophy, and the other is hyperplasia. Hypertrophy is an increase in the size of the cells in which the affected cells grow without dividing.
A characteristic example would be muscle hypertrophy, which is common in bodybuilders. On the other hand, hyperplasia is a type of growth that features an increase in the number of cells. Each cell is the same size as the healthy tissue, but there are more than usual.
Hypertrophy and hyperplasia can be triggered in the body in normal circumstances. But, in the case of BPH, hyperplasia is not considered normal, and it affects the normal function of the urinary tract.
The current investigation tries to elucidate the reasons behind prostatic hyperplasia. However, what we do know is that there are risk factors. One of the most important is the individual’s age because it is more common as we grow older. Genetics play a role as well, especially if a first-degree relative (father or brother) has the condition (2).
Are prostatitis and BPH the same prostate gland problem?
Prostatitis and BPH are often mistaken, especially when they both appear in older patients with urinary symptoms. However, they are not caused by the same problem and will not be treated similarly. Prostatitis is an inflammatory problem, and it is caused by inflammatory cytokines.
The leading traceable cause is a urinary tract infection by sexually transmitted pathogens or any other. Prostatitis does not feature an increase in the number or size of prostate cells. Instead, the prostate gland swells by fluid accumulation. It may increase the size of the gland, but not as BPH does.
On the contrary, BPH features an enlarged prostate that often causes urinary obstruction. This enlargement tends to be very severe and cause many urinary symptoms. Unlike prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia is never an acute problem. It is always slow-progressing and insidious, as you will see next (1,2).
How can I tell the difference between prostatitis vs BPH (signs and symptoms)?
The symptoms of prostatitis vs BPH are similar to each other, and that’s why they are often mistaken. However, let us review each ailment and the most important signs and symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of BPH
These are the most important symptoms of BPH (2):
It is sometimes asymptomatic
Not every patient with prostate enlargement has symptoms. In many cases, BPH symptoms start when the prostate has grown very large. Other patients have a rising incidence and severity of symptoms. Thus, they may not realize they have symptoms if they are insidious for many years.
This is one of the most common initial symptoms of BPH. Patients report a frequent need to go to the bathroom. This is because the capacity of the urinary bladder becomes impaired. The prostate is growing too large, and affecting the normal storage function of the bladder.
In other words, it is waking up many times every night to urinate. These patients often have sleep problems and may even wet their sheets. Nocturia is a common problem, and in severe cases, it will not improve after reducing water intake at night.
Urgency to urinate
Patients with BPH often have a sudden and very urgent need to urinate. This may even lead to a type of incontinence called urgency urinary incontinence.
Reduced flow of urine
It is imperative to evaluate the caliber of the flow of urine. Most patients realize their urine flow is reduced and slower than usual. Sometimes, they feel they have not yet emptied their bladder after they stop urinating.
Hesitancy and intermittency
BPH patients may need to push harder in order to start urinating. This is urinary hesitancy and sometimes causes urinary retention. Another symptom is intermittency or interrupted urinary flow. Instead of being continuous, patients need to stop and push again to continue urinating.
Terminal and post-micturition dribble
Patients with BPH often have a terminal dribble. This means they start dribbling urine after the main flow. Moreover, after the patient has finished passing urine, he may have a post-micturition dribble. This can be mistaken with incontinence.
Signs and symptoms of prostatitis
These are the most important symptoms of prostatitis (1):
It is sometimes asymptomatic
Especially in the case of asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
Weak urinary stream
Similar to BPH, patients with prostatitis may sometimes experience a weak urinary flow. They may need to push to continue urinating, and the symptoms can be acute or chronic. In chronic cases, weak urinary stream symptoms are intermittent.
Increased urinary frequency and urgency
Another similarity in prostatitis is that patients have an urgency to urinate and increased frequency. These symptoms are due to an inflammation of the prostate gland. Since the gland is continuous with the bladder, it irritates this organ.
Fever and chills
This is where prostatitis starts to be different from BPH. Instead of solely having urinary symptoms, patients may also experience fever. High-temperature levels are indicative of infection and common in acute bacterial prostatitis.
Muscle and joint pain
It is a part of their inflammatory process. That’s why patients with prostatitis may experience joint pain and muscle pain.
Prostatic pain, pelvis, or low back pain
In prostatitis, patients will have swelling and tenderness of the prostate gland. Doctors need to evaluate how a digital examination triggers pain. In some cases, patients complain of dull pain in the pelvic area. In other cases, it is moderate back pain associated with prostatitis.
Some patients with prostatitis will also have a urethral discharge. These cases are associated with sexually transmitted diseases of the urinary tract, causing urethritis.
In other cases, patients with prostatitis will also have painful urination, primarily when associated with cystitis or lower urinary tract infections.
Recurrent urinary infections
Men should not have urinary infections, or at least not as commonly as women. Urinary infections in men are a complication of another process. They also cause potential complications such as prostatitis. Therefore, recurrent urinary infections should be investigated, especially in male patients.
How do you tell the difference?
In the lists above, you have probably seen that both prostatitis and BPH have lower urinary symptoms in common. They include voiding symptoms, storage symptoms, and post-micturition symptoms. In prostatitis, the most predominant are storage symptoms.
For example, having urinary urgency, incontinence, waking up several times at night to urinate, and having increased volume and frequency of urination.
Voiding symptoms such as weak urinary flow may appear in patients with prostatitis. However, they are much more common in BPH. Post-micturition symptoms are almost solely found in BPH patients.
On the contrary, chronic inflammation and bacterial infection only occur in prostatitis. They do not feature in BPH. If you have symptoms such as fever, chills, urethral discharge, joint, and muscle pain, it is most likely prostatitis instead of BPH. It is prostatitis that causes prostate pain triggered by the digital examination (3).
What is the prognosis for BPH and prostatitis?
Unlike prostate cancer, prostate BPH is a benign disease. Prostatitis is also benign and even more manageable than BPH. Thus, both disorders have a very favorable prognosis.
However, patients with prostatitis and BPH should undergo careful follow-up. This is a useful way to make sure their condition is being controlled appropriately. Otherwise, they would become affected by other complications that will affect their quality of life.
Among the most important methods to evaluate the prognosis, we have PSA levels. With PSA, it is possible to tell when prostate cancer is the cause of an increase in the size of the prostate.
In the majority of cases, a prostate biopsy won’t be required. On the other hand, prostatic abscess formation is a complication of prostatitis. It is very rare and often appears in immunocompromised patients.
In chronic prostatitis, it is a more insidious process, but with more consequences. Prostatitis does not cause mortality but impair the patient’s quality of life. Chronic cases link with erectile dysfunction when they feature severe symptoms (12).
Are the treatments for prostatitis vs BPH different?
It is fundamental to make a clear difference between prostatitis and BPH. Being clear on what is really happening will allow us to create an appropriate treatment schedule.
Both conditions are treated differently. Moreover, various types of prostatitis will have different treatment options for each one. Thus, let us review the medical treatment of BPH and compare it with the most common types of prostatitis (acute and chronic prostatitis).
Selected drugs used to treat BPH depend on the patient, his symptoms, and the extent of the disease. They are as follows (4):
Alpha receptor blockers
It is a medication designed to relax the smooth muscle. It works in the muscle of the urinary tract, the bladder, and the prostate. Thus, the urinary tract won’t be constricted, and the urine will have a better flow. One of the most common is tamsulosin or Flomax. Other alternatives include terazosin, doxazosin, and alfuzosin.
They are useful for patients with overactive bladder symptoms. But they should be used only when there is no bladder outlet obstruction. They can be combined with alpha-receptor blockers, but this should be done with care.
They are a useful alternative to alpha-receptor blockers. One of the possible mechanisms of action includes the relaxation of the smooth muscle. However, phosphodiesterase inhibitors reduce hyperactivity in the autonomic nervous system that causes an increased frequency of urination, urgency, and other symptoms.
Surgical removal of the prostate
In selected cases, it may be an option to remove the prostate. This is usually done through transurethral resection of the prostate, a procedure also known as TURP.
Medical treatment for acute prostatitis
Acute prostatitis is often a medical emergency. The symptoms are more severe and have a sudden onset. The most common medical treatments for acute prostatitis are as follows (5):
- Antibiotic therapy: Acute prostatitis is often due to a bacterial infection of the prostate. Thus, the most appropriate treatment is antibiotics. With trimethoprim or fluoroquinolones, prostatitis usually resolves in a few days. However, you should maintain treatment for as long as your doctor instructs.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Your doctor may also recommend NSAIDs. These anti-inflammatory medications are useful to control pain symptoms associated with prostatitis.
Medical treatment for chronic prostatitis
The treatment of chronic prostatitis is similar to what we have described in acute prostatitis. However, recovery often takes longer. It is also more common to use multiple medications in the same patient to control the symptoms. The most important drugs are as follows (6):
- Antibiotics: Once again, infection is often the cause of chronic bacterial prostatitis. However, in this case, the infection may take a very long time to cure, and therapy may extend for more than two months.
- Alpha-blockers: Patients with urinary tract symptoms and prostate pain usually need alpha-blockers. They are often diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain syndrome and need these drugs to relieve their urinary tract symptoms.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: They are required in most cases of chronic prostatitis. It is especially the case of chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
After reviewing the medical treatment of BPH and prostatitis, let’s consider the most important natural treatments, too.
Natural treatments for Prostatitis
Quercetin is a potent anti-inflammatory substance. It relieves the symptoms of prostatitis by countering the prostate inflammation (7).
It is a widely used spice in India and many other parts of Asia. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory potential. It also displays antibacterial properties. Thus, it reduces inflammation and helps the organism fighting pathogen microbes (8).
This herb is very abundant and widely used in North America. It helps patients improve their hormonal balance and contain a very potent group of antioxidants called flavonoids. These flavonoids are powerful anti-inflammatory substances. They reduce inflammation and improve urinary symptoms (9).
We formulated Ben’s Prostate Healer to re-establish a healthy estrogen-testosterone balance by supplying phytoestrogen compounds. Phytoestrogen compounds mimic the action of estrogen and, as a result, discourage excessive estrogen production.
The tincture also purges the urinary tract, effectively boosting kidney efficiency, toning bladder tissue, and reducing residual volume. As such, it may also improve urinary symptoms associated with prostatitis.
Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) is one of the most common prostate health problems experienced by men.
In fact, approximately 50% of men experience symptoms of prostatitis at some point during their lifetime.
Although not a life-threatening condition, painful urinary symptoms, and relentless urinary tract infections have a debilitating effect on your quality of life.
Prostate Healers antiviral ingredients help to prevent and fight off urinary tract infections effectively.
Natural treatments for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
This is an antioxidant we can find in various foods, especially in many types of berries and pomegranates. It slows down the progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prevents the onset of prostate cancer (10).
This is a traditional herb against back pain, joint pain, and BPH. Stinging nettle can reduce the post-void residual urine in patients with BPH. In other words, it allows for complete emptying of the urinary bladder (11).
Similar to prostatitis, saw palmetto is beneficial in BPH. In these patients, it reduces the incidence and severity of urinary symptoms (9).
Total Health for the Prostate is a blend of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, backed up by a wealth of clinical studies.
Further, each individual ingredient is thoroughly researched and scientifically proven to improve and maintain prostate health.
Containing clinically significant dosages of beta-sitosterol, quercetin, pomegranate extract, boron, and turmeric, many of the nutrients included in Total Health have been shown to improve urine flow, reduce frequent urination, and lower your PSA score.
Our dietary supplement, Prostate Power, contains ingredients clinically proven to shrink an enlarged prostate and slow the progress of BPH and prostate disease.
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We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service. We offer a free health consultation where you can ask questions and receive tailored advice from our expert health consultants.
In a nutshell, while prostatitis and BPH are not mortal, they do affect the quality of life in various ways.
They both feature urinary symptoms, and prostatitis may also be associated with pelvic pain.
The degree of severity varies, and patients should have a close follow-up to prevent complications.