Prostatitis is the inflammation or infection of the prostate, the male sex gland which produces the alkaline fluid that forms part of the semen. This is a common male problem caused by bacterial infection or, in rare cases, may accompany cancer of the prostate.
“Most men will have at least one bout in their lifetime, usually in their later years. In most cases, there is no infection, and the cause of the problem is unknown. But some¬times infection occurs as a complication of a venereal disease or bladder infection,” according to Kurt Butler and Dr. Lynn Rayner of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii in “The Best Medicine.”
As the prostate enlarges following infection, it obstructs the bladder, leading to difficulty urinating or failure to empty the bladder completely. The leftover urine becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria which can later damage the kidneys and cause blood poisoning.
Other symptoms of prostatitis are frequent urination, especially at night, a burning sensation on urinating, fever, chills, joint and muscle pains, low back pain and sometimes blood in the urine.
To combat prostatitis, the doctor may prescribe anti¬biotics and pain relievers. Sitting in a bathtub with six or eight inches of warm water for I5 minutes at least three times a day may help.
There is no special diet for prostatitis but avoid alcohol and spicy foods which can irritate the urethra. Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day for continuous urine flow.
Zinc supplements are sometimes given since the pros¬tate is said to be rich in zinc and men with bacterial inflam¬mation usually have less of this element in their prostate fluid. There is no evidence that they work but there’s no harm in trying them.
“While this may help those who are deficient, large doses should not be maintained indefinitely,” Butler and Rayner said.
Surgery is the last resort. While this won’t affect sexual response and activity, it may reduce the amount of semen a person has. Semen may also enter the bladder and be expelled with urine.
“Surgical removal of the infected part of the prostate is an option in a few severe cases when other treatments don’t work. The chances of responding to a major surgical procedure for any type of prostatitis are quite low. For this reason most doctors are very hesitant to perform surgery for these conditions and generally discourage surgery even as a last resort,” warned the Mayo Clinic.
One of the best ways of preventing prostatitis is to have sex regularly or increase your sexual activity. Prolonged sexual abstinence or frequent sexual arousal without ejaculation should be avoided while a balanced diet with adequate amounts of zinc and unsaturated oils is advised.
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