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Men's Health

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Official: Hussein Has Prostate Infection

Iraqi Official Says Deposed Leader Otherwise in Good Health

WebMD Health News

July 29, 2004 -- Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is suffering from a chronic prostate infection, according to wire reports. Although the condition is common among older men, the deposed dictator has reportedly refused to undergo a biopsy to rule out prostate cancer.

Appearing on the Arab news network Al Jazeera, an Iraqi official said X-rays and blood tests by U.S. military doctors do not indicate anything more serious than a prostate infection, and Hussein is otherwise in good health.

But the imprisoned Hussein, who is 67, has refused American officials' requests for a biopsy to eliminate the possibility of prostate cancer.

Prostatitis is often described as an infection of the prostate, but it can also be an inflammation with no sign of infection. Acute prostatitis occurs from a sudden bacterial infection. But Hussein reportedly has what's known as chronic prostatitis. Chronic (long-lasting) prostatitis is the most common form of the disease, usually caused by bacteria.

What Causes Prostatitis?

How the prostate becomes infected is not clearly understood. The bacteria that cause prostatitis may get into the prostate through the urethra by backward flow of infected urine into the prostate or stool from the rectum.

At one time, prostatitis was believed to be a sexually transmitted disease, but more recent research suggests only a small number of cases are transmitted through sex.

Certain conditions and medical procedures increase the risk of developing prostatitis. You are at higher risk for getting prostatitis if you:

  • Recently have had a medical instrument, such as a urinary catheter (a soft, lubricated tube used to drain urine from the bladder), inserted during a medical procedure
  • Engage in anal intercourse
  • Have an abnormal urinary tract
  • Have had a recent bladder infection
  • Have an enlarged prostate

Other causes include autoimmune disease (an abnormal reaction by the body to the prostate tissue).

Who Gets Prostatitis?

Prostatitis can affect men of all ages. It is estimated that prostatitis may affect 50% of men during their lifetimes.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostatitis?

There may be no symptoms or symptoms so sudden and severe that you seek emergency medical care. When present, symptoms include:

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Chills and fever

Other symptoms include pain that comes and goes low in the abdomen, around the anus, in the groin, or in the back. In some cases, bacteria can get into the vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra), causing groin pain or an infection of the epididymis (an area near the testicles where sperm mature and are stored). The prostate may swell, causing a less forceful urine stream. Sometimes blood in the urine and painful ejaculation are other symptoms of prostatitis.

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