How is prostatitis diagnosed?
The correct diagnosis is very important because the treatment is different for the different types of prostatitis syndromes. In addition, it is extremely important to make sure that the symptoms are not caused by urethritis, cystitis, an enlarged prostate
or cancer. To help make an accurate diagnosis, several types of examinations are useful.
To examine the prostate gland, the physician will perform a digital rectal examination (DRE). This is a simple examination in which the doctor will pass a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum. Because the prostate is located just in front of the rectum, it can be easily pressed. The physician will be able to determine whether the prostate is enlarged or tender. Lumps or firm areas can suggest the presence of prostate cancer. The physician will also assess the degree of pain or discomfort the patient experiences as he presses the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor and perineum. If a man has prostatitis, this examination may produce momentary pain or discomfort but it causes neither damage nor significant prolonged pain.
If the physician requires a closer look at the prostate gland or decides that a biopsy is necessary, he may order a transrectal ultrasound, which allows him to visualize the prostate gland. If you are at risk for cancer, your physician will consider ordering a PSA test. If your physician suspects that you have prostatitis or one of the other prostate problems, he may refer you to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system, to confirm the diagnosis.
The urologist will repeat some of the examinations already performed by the first physician. The urologist will also assess the degree of pain or discomfort the patient experiences as he presses the prostate as well as the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor and perineum. The urologist may analyze various urine specimens as well as a specimen of prostatic fluid obtained by massaging the prostate gland during DRE. The various urine specimens and prostatic fluid will be analyzed for signs of inflammation and infection. These samples may help the urologist determine whether your problem is inflammation or infection and whether the problem is in the urethra, bladder or prostate.
Other tests the urologist may consider employing include cystoscopy in which a small telescope is passed through the urethra into the bladder permitting examination of the urethra, prostate and bladder. The urologist may also order urine flow studies, which help measure the strength of your urine flow and any obstruction caused by the prostate, urethra or pelvic muscles.
More information on prostatitis
What is prostatitis? - Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland characterized by perineal pain and irregular urination and (if severe) chills and fever. An inflamed prostate can cause a variety of symptoms.
What are prostatitis signs and symptoms? - Symptoms of prostatitis are nonspecific and have been known to mimic other urologic and nonurologic diseases. The signs and symptoms of prostatitis depend on the cause of the inflammation.
What are the prostatitis risk factors? - Risk factors for prostatitis include bladder outlet obstruction, diabetes mellitus, a suppressed immune system, and urethral catheterization.
What causes prostatitis? - Acute prostatitis originates in the prostate, the infection can occasionally spread from a bladder or urethral infection. Nonbacterial prostatitis may be caused by an infectious agent.
How is prostatitis diagnosed? - To examine the prostate gland, the physician will perform a digital rectal examination (DRE). The various urine specimens and prostatic fluid will be analyzed for signs of inflammation and infection.
How is prostatitis treated? - The treatment of prostatitis is based on the cause. If acute bacterial prostatitis is diagnosed, the patient will need to take antibiotics for a minimum of 14 days.
What alternative treatments are available? - Acute, chronic, or nonbacterial prostatitis are inflammatory and infectious conditions that can be treated naturally with lifestyle changes. Supplements are intended to provide nutritional support.