The Prostate Gland
The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. It is relatively small, about the size and shape of a walnut, and is situated just underneath the urinary bladder surrounding a portion of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that allows the passage of urine from the bladder through the penis during urination.
The gland itself is composed of hundreds of tiny sacs (acini) that secrete prostatic fluid. The smooth muscles surrounding the prostate begin to contract during ejaculation and expel prostatic fluid into the urethra, where it mixes with the sperm and is then ejected from the penis. The prostatic fluid, rich in many elements, provides nourishment to the sperm and helps make it fertile.
As men age, the prostate is prone to:
Acute and Chronic inflammation of the prostate gland.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
An enlarged prostate that restricts the flow of urine, by constricting the urethra; this results in frequent urination and weakness of the urine stream. Almost all men will experience BPH as they age.
Note: it is not uncommon for men with BPH to also have chronic prostatitis, a circumstance that may confuse patients and their doctors and, therefore, lead to ineffective treatment of the condition.
What is Prostatitis?
It is a mysterious, confusing and difficult ailment describing a collection of symptoms characterized by pain and discomfort in the groin, and the genital/urinary region of the male body.
Acute Prostatitis is rare, and usually affects younger men who have never had prostate problems. Symptoms include pain in the lower pelvic area, testicles, and/or perineum (the area between the scrotum and anal opening); fever; frequent urge to pass urine; and a burning sensation when urinating. On occasion, the inflamed prostate swells up and blocks the urethra to the extent that the person cannot pass urine despite having a full bladder. This condition is referred to as Acute Urinary Retention, and requires immediate emergency medical attention and draining of the bladder. Acute Prostatitis occurs when bacteria is introduced to the prostate, either through the urinary tract or via blood circulation from other areas of the body.
The good news is that Acute Prostatitis can be cured with prompt treatment of properly selected antibiotics, and within a few weeks of treatment the patient can expect a full recovery.
Chronic Prostatitis is a different story. It is very common. In fact, based on recent epidemiological studies, there are approximately eight million prostatitis-related outpatient visits worldwide every year. As you will read, in the following pages, even though, it is very difficult to cure some one with this condition, it can be effectively treated, so that the pain and other symptoms are significantly reduced and men regain their normal quality of life.