Have you ever heard of prostatitis? It doesn’t sound good, does it? If you’ve never heard of it, you’ve probably heard of a prostate. Prostatitis is a condition that occurs in the prostate.
It can cause pain and discomfort but usually isn’t too serious. Below, you’ll find out about the prostate gland and prostatitis, including symptoms and courses of treatment. Let’s dive in!
What is a Prostate?
So what even is a prostate? A prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It's a walnut-sized gland present in all people assigned male at birth (AMAB). The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Its purpose is to produce prostate fluid, one of the main ingredients that make up semen. Prostate fluid also acts as a cleanser to keep the urethral track and opening clean and lower the risk for infection.
Prostates and Sex
You can stimulate the prostate during sex to enhance pleasure via anal penetration with a finger, penis, dildo, butt plug, or prostate massager. To manually stimulate the prostate, slide a finger into your AMAB partner’s anus or your own, and use a come hither motion, stroking up towards the navel.
You should be able to feel the round, spongy edge of the prostate. Stimulation can lead to or aid in orgasm. While prostate stimulation is typically associated with gay sex, heterosexual couples also enjoy anal penetration and prostate stimulation.
Who Has a Prostate?
Anyone assigned male at birth has a prostate. Therefore, anyone of any gender identity could have a prostate, including trans women and nonbinary people.
You may have heard whispers about the “female prostate.” While those assigned female at birth don’t technically have a prostate, they have a group of glands, known as the Skene’s glands, that perform a similar function: keeping the urethral opening clean and lowering the risk of infection.
Just as those with prostates are at risk for prostate cancer, those with Skene’s glands are also at risk of cancer in that area and should get screened regularly.
Monitoring prostate health is critical because everyone with a prostate gland is at risk of prostate cancer and other afflictions that can affect the reproductive system. The best way to stay on top of your reproductive (and overall) health is to get screened regularly by your doctor.
Certain conditions, including cancer, become more of a risk as you age, so getting screened more regularly is standard.
What is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) is a condition that affects the prostate and causes swelling for one reason or another. Four common types of prostatitis include:
Acute bacterial prostatitis. Acute bacterial prostatitis is a prostate infection, usually with sudden, severe symptoms. This is a more serious condition that requires medical attention.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis. Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an ongoing or recurring bacterial infection usually with less severe symptoms. A milder bacterial infection most seen in older men can last up to several months.
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. This is an ongoing or recurring pelvic pain (pain in the scrotum, testicles, perineum, and anus) that causes urinary tract symptoms with no evidence of infection. Triggers include stress and injury, but little is known about the causes.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Asymptomatic prostatitis shows signs of an inflamed prostate with no symptoms. It doesn’t require treatment but can lead to infertility — doctors screen for this with a blood test.
The risk factors for prostatitis include infection, a weakened immune system, or injury. The most common type of prostatitis results from an infection that spreads through common strains of bacteria that make their way into the reproductive system.
Preventing infections is not foolproof, but washing thoroughly and regularly can help keep that area free from the risk of acute bacterial infection. The forms of prostatitis that aren’t infection-related (nonbacterial prostatitis) are a little more ambiguous in origin. Doctors believe they can be from nerve damage, a weakened immune system, or injury.
What Are the Symptoms of Prostatitis?
The most common symptoms of prostatitis include urinary symptoms and pain, which can manifest as lower back pain, pelvic pain, or genital pain. Blood in urine or cloudy urine can also be symptoms.
Difficulty urinating can include a burning sensation during urination (also known as dysuria) or frequent urination. Prostatitis can also lead to painful ejaculation. In some cases, prostatitis can provoke flu-like symptoms like fever or chills, but these are less common.
Can You Have Sex If You Have Prostatitis?
You might wonder if you can have sex if you or your partner has prostatitis. Typically, prostatitis does not interfere with sex. However, some experience pain or discomfort during ejaculation, which could affect their sexual experience. But sex will not worsen prostatitis or transfer it between partners. Prostatitis is not a sexually transmitted infection.
What Are the Treatments for Prostatitis?
Medical treatment can help control symptoms and manage pain if you or someone you know has prostatitis. There are a variety of treatment choices which include but are not limited to:
Antibiotics: May be prescribed by a doctor when you seek medical treatment to clear up the infection.
Alpha-blockers: Drugs that relax your urinary tract and urethra, preventing blockage caused by an enlarged prostate that can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Can ease prostate swelling that occurs during prostatitis.
Pain medicine: Can manage any pain or discomfort that accompanies prostatitis.
Urinary catheter: In more serious cases, it can aid urination when urinating is too painful.
Prostate massage: Can help empty fluid from your prostate ducts and prevent swelling.
- Mental health therapy: Some forms of prostatitis can result from long-term anxiety or stress.
When To See a Doctor
It’s a good idea to seek medical treatment if you or someone you know has the following symptoms: inability to urinate, painful urination accompanied by a fever, blood in the urine, or severe discomfort in the genital area.
These symptoms can get in the way of everyday life, and it is best to get medical advice from a healthcare provider to get quick relief! You can treat prostatitis at home if symptoms are milder and more manageable.
Preventative Lifestyle Changes
Watch your diet: Caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food may worsen prostatitis symptoms. A healthier diet can lead to a healthier prostate.
Take baths: Sitting in a bathtub filled with two or three inches of warm water can help ease any uncomfortable symptoms of a swollen or inflamed prostate.
Protect your package: Sit on soft surfaces instead of harder surfaces when you can. If you’re sitting on a hard chair for extended periods in your daily routine, consider adding a cushion to ease any stress on your prostate.
- Stay active: Regular exercise has a variety of apparent benefits. It can keep your immune system and metabolism in great shape and aid the function of your reproductive system.
And thereyou have it! While prostatitis usually isn’t as serious as prostate cancer, it’s still something you should be aware of. If symptoms arise, you will now know how to address them to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Stay safe out there!
Inflammation of the prostate can be an uncomfortable experience, but it usually isn’t serious. While there are several causes, you can enact some basic lifestyle changes to prevent this painful condition.
Keep an eye on your diet, ensure you sit on comfortable and supportive surfaces, and stay active. And always protect your business. Check out our blog for more helpful tips for your prostate health and wellness.