All men have a prostate gland. It’s found just under your bladder. It starts out the size of a walnut but gets bigger as you age. The prostate makes semen, the fluid that carries sperm. If something causes it to become swollen, tender, or inflamed, you have what’s called “prostatitis.”
Prostatitis isn’t cancer and doesn’t cause cancer. Still, it can be tricky to treat. There’s not one specific cure. Men get prostatitis for many different reasons, and doctors don’t understand them all.
Your doctor will try to reduce your symptoms and ease your pain. What treatments you receive will depend on the type of prostatitis you have. These treatments can include the following:
You may need to take them by mouth for up to a month.
If your symptoms keep coming back, your doctor might suggest you stay on a low dose of antibiotics for the long term.
Alpha-blockers. These drugs help relax parts of your urinary tract. Taking them can make peeing less painful.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Over-the-counter pain relief can help ease any soreness and swelling.
Pain medicine. Anti-depressants or anti-seizure medications are just two types of medicine that can be used to treat long-term prostate pain.
Supplements. Quercetin, a natural compound found in plants, has been shown to ease inflammation in some men who have prostatitis. A pollen extract called cernilton may also help. Be sure to speak to your doctor before trying any supplements or herbal remedies. They could make other medicines you’re taking not work as well.
Medications that improve sexual function. It’s common for prostatitis to lead to problems with your sex life. If you have trouble getting or keeping an erection, your doctor can prescribe a medicine like sildenafil (Viagra) to help.
At some point, you may also need one of the following therapies:
Urinary catheter. If you can’t pee, a nurse can insert a flexible tube into your urethra (the tube that removes urine from your body) to drain your bladder.
Physical therapy. Sometimes prostatitis is caused by a problem with your pelvic floor muscles. These support your bladder and bowel and help with sexual function.
Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who can help you improve your strength and posture. She can also help you learn about habits you have that could be causing damage to your pelvic floor.
Mental health therapy. Stress, depression, and feeling helpless may play a part in some types of prostatitis. Talk to a mental health counselor. He can help you learn to control your negative thoughts so you can feel better.
Many lifestyle changes can make a difference, too. These options may help you start to feel better right away:
Take “sitz baths.” Sitting in 2 to 3 inches of warm water can provide some relief from your symptoms.
Protect yourself. If you must sit at a desk or in a chair for a long time, sit on a cushion.
Be active when you can. Regular exercise may not only reduce your pain but also improve your outlook.
Your doctor will likely do this only as a last resort. He could choose to do surgery on your urethra but this will only help if there’s a clear problem that can be fixed.
In very rare cases, your doctor may decide to remove part or all of your prostate gland. This comes with many risks. They include incontinence (not being able to hold your urine) and erectile dysfunction (not being able to get or keep an erection). It could also make your symptoms worse.