4 Bacterial Prostatitis Risk Factors to Know
Bacterial infection of the prostate gland can have multiple causes, and not all of them are obvious.
Bacterial prostatitis is caused by the infiltration of bacteria into the soft tissue of the prostate gland, thereby causing an infection. Multiple types of bacteria may cause prostate infections, including E. coli, Klebsiella, pseudomonas, and enterococcus. In most instances, an underlying reason leads to the development of bacterial prostatitis, found within four common risk factor categories. Let’s explore further!
The first bacterial prostatitis risk factor category Includes conditions that lead to lower urinary tract diseases such as enlarged prostate, incomplete bladder emptying, the presence of bladder stones, urethral strictures, and paralyzed bladder muscle conditions. In this set of disease processes, urinary stasis occurs – which means that urine cannot empty from the bladder. When the bladder cannot completely and consistently void itself of urinary waste, bacterial overgrowth can extend to infection of the prostate gland.
The second inciting factor for bacterial prostatitis has to do with sexual activity. Men who do not ejaculate regularly tend to accumulate semen, prostate secretions, and sperm in the genital tract. Like urinary stasis, stasis of these secretions can also cause the accumulation of bacteria leading to prostate infection. Furthermore, unprotected anal intercourse insertion of the penis into the anal canal without a condom allows transmission of naturally occurring bacteria in the rectum or the anal canal to enter the urethra, transfer to the prostate, and result in prostate infection.
The third set of risk factors for bacterial prostatitis deals with lifestyle considerations. Prolonged sitting, especially over a long period, can be a significant risk factor for bacterial prostatitis. Men who spend a long time in a seated position, such as truck drivers, delivery workers, cab drivers, and computer and office workers, often spend multiple hours sitting daily. The weight of the body on the perineum (the area between the anus and scrotum in men) in a seated position often leads to prostatic irritation and translocation of bacteria from the rectum into the prostate.
And the final set of conditions that may lead to bacterial prostatitis presents in individuals with recurring bowel health problems. In people with chronic bowel health conditions, naturally occurring bacteria in the large intestine may translocate from the bowel wall into the prostate tissue, causing bacterial prostatitis. People with chronic diarrhea, constipation, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease, are more likely to develop prostate infections.
Men who develop bacterial prostatitis can have symptoms that may mimic or indicate other urologic conditions, regardless of the risk factor category involved. Therefore, it is crucial to have any of the following warning signs evaluated by a physician, ideally a board certified urologist:
- Burning with urination,
Discharge from the urethra,
Fever with/without chills, and
Blood in the urine.
Generally, and in most mild cases, bacterial prostatitis is easily treated with antibiotics. The course of antibiotic treatment can be anywhere from one week to six weeks, depending on the compilation of symptoms. Having sex during a current bacterial prostatitis infection should be done with a condom. If a patient has a very severe case of the condition, accompanied by urinary retention, it is not recommended to be sexually active. However, in lower-grade bacterial prostatitis, sexual activity may help with symptom resolution.
There are some ways that men can reduce their likelihood of developing bacterial prostatitis:
Regular sexual activity, either with a partner or self-stimulation, can help with preventing infections.
Anal intercourse should always be done with a condom.
Men should avoid prolonged sitting. For every hour of sitting, men should get up and spend at least 15 minutes walking or at least in a standing position. A standup desk at work could be beneficial for the prevention of prostate infection as well as back problems.
Stay well hydrated.
Treat any lower urinary tract problems such as enlarged prostate.
Serious issues can arise when bacterial prostatitis isn’t adequately and promptly treated. Because doctors must treat bacterial prostatitis with antibiotics, men must have their symptoms evaluated by a health care provider as soon as possible. In addition, the health care provider will need to rule out other reasons, besides bacterial prostatitis, that may be causing the prostate inflammation and associated symptoms. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, don’t suffer in silence, schedule an appointment with your physician so you can get the treatment you need.
Dr. Ramin’s email answers from the 3/28/22 Giddy interview.