A prostate infection known as prostatitis causes a bit more than unpleasant symptom. An ongoing infection can lead to some complications, which is why prostatitis needs to be tackled in due time.
In order to reduce your risk of an infection and take proper care of your body, you need to have some awareness about the causes of prostatitis. Both bacterial sexually transmitted diseases and infections with viruses like HIV have been known to increase the risk.
What Is Prostatitis?
Inflammation of the prostate (often accompanied by swelling) is called prostatitis.
Prostatitis can occur at any age during a man’s lifetime. Statistics suggest that the infection is most common between the ages of 30 and 50.
Depending on its duration, prostatitis is divided in two categories. Acute prostatitis develops suddenly. The symptoms are rather serious. Any bacterium in the urinary tract can contribute to acute prostatitis. This infection has symptoms like fever, tenderness in the lower abdominal area, bloody urine and painful urination, burning during urination, pain during ejaculation and bowel movements, as well as genital pain.
Chronic prostatitis is an infection that lasts three months or more. Usually, the symptoms are milder but similar to those of acute prostatitis. Older men and those who have suffered from prostatitis before are at a higher risk of getting a chronic infection.
Any bacterium can get to the prostate and make its tissues inflamed. In men over the age of 35, prostatitis is most often caused by E. coli. Usually, the infection starts in the urethra and as the bacteria travel up, the prostate may be also affected.
There are a few additional factors that could contribute to acute prostatitis. Blockages that prevent the proper flow of urine, phimosis (foreskin that cannot be fully retracted) perineal injury and having had a recent prostate biopsy are all featured among the risk factors.
The Link Between STDs and Prostatitis
The bacteria that cause some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases can also reach the prostate and contribute to an infection of the gland.
Research suggests that several STDs are most likely to cause a prostate infection. These include chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes. The gonorrhoea bacterium, for example, thrives in moist and warm body parts. The urethra creates ideal conditions for its proliferation. That is why leaving gonorrhoea untreated increases the risk of infections like prostatitis.
Genital herpes, unlike the other conditions mentioned here, is caused by a virus. According to experts, there is a logical reason why the virus increases the risk of a prostate infection. During an outbreak, the herpes virus causes the appearance of blisters. Infected fluid from these blisters can eventually travel up to the prostate and cause an infection.
Other STDs that have been known to increase the risk of prostatitis include trichomoniasis and ureaplasma urealyticum (a very “mild” infection that will often go undetected because it tends to cause no symptoms).
There is one more STD that has to be examined in the context of prostatitis and that’s HIV.
HIV and Prostate Inflammation
The human immunodeficiency virus increases the risk of prostatitis in an indirect way.
When a HIV-positive individual doesn’t start antiretroviral therapy, the virus proliferates. By doing so, it damages the immune system and compromises its response.
As the immune system is not functioning adequately, the person becomes more predisposed to other kinds of infections. Bacteria can easily reach parts of the body like the prostate and cause issues like prostatitis. The immune response is not adequate enough to destroy pathogens before they infect healthy tissues.
Best Ways to Address a Prostate Infection
Acute prostate infections will resolve quickly when a round of antibiotics is administered to kill the disease-causing bacterium.
Those who suffer from chronic prostatitis will need to take antibiotics for a longer period of time.
Depending on the bacterium causing the infection, prostatitis may not go away after the first round of antibiotics. There have been medical cases of the infection reappearing after the end of the antibiotic treatment. If this were to happen, your doctor would switch you to another kind of antibiotic for a second treatment round.
In many cases, men diagnosed with prostatitis can continue having sex. If the cause is an STD, however, refraining from sexual activity until a negative test would be the best course of action.
Even if a person is not positive for STDs, the use of barrier contraception is still recommended. Condoms prevent bacteria from spreading, protecting both partners involved.
Keep in mind that untreated prostatitis can cause complications. If you wait for the infection to go away on its own, you increase the risk of suffering from medical issues like an abscess, urinary retention, sepsis, sexual dysfunction and even infertility.
Anyone who has prostatitis needs to see their doctor as soon as possible. Getting tested for STDs at an established sexual health clinic in Singapore is a good idea as they would be able to properly advise and plan next steps if one does test positive. We have STD testing panels for most common sexually transmitted diseases. Visit us during working hours every day of the week or contact Shim Clinic to inquire about your sexual health.