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Prostatitis has been an epidemic in the U.S. for two centuries. The urologist, Thomas Stamey, reports that five percent of all men will show symptoms of prostatitis during their lifetimes.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the visits of men to the doctor for urogenital problems proved to be prostatitis. The pathologist, John E. McNeal, found that 40 out of 91 men in random autopsies were found to have prostatitis. Prostatitis afflicts men mainly in their twenties to thirties, but is found in all ages. It is estimated that 35% of men over 50 years old may have chronic prostatitis. It is the most common of the three prostate diseases - the other two being benign prostatic hyperthrophy, and cancer. Both prostatitis and cancer occur in the same location in the prostate gland, with prostatitis perhaps triggering cancer. Yet prostatitis is the most curable, with prostate cancer killing about 35,000 men a year [though at a later age].

Causes of prostatitis are many and often involve some disease organism, inflammation, or hormonal imbalance. Bacterial cysts may also be located in the ejaculatory ducts, urinary tract, or bladder, rather than the prostate gland.

There may be several strains of bacteria. It may be necessary to experiment with antibiotics to see what will work on the second infection. Don't believe the 'non-bacterial' diagnosis until you have tried antibiotics for anaerobic bacteria, virus, yeast, and fungus. Dr. Attila Toth, a New York obstetrician and fertility expert, and Dr. J.L. Durer, a Canadian physician, both believe that anaerobic bacteria are often the cause of prostate infection.

If it is caused by an immune disorder, it's not likely that it can be fixed.

Your partner could be the source of infection. Common vaginal anaerobic bacteria rarely cause women problems but can be a severe problem in the prostate. Oriental/Asian doctors often look at the partner first, while American doctors believe that you don't need to treat the partner.

When men reach 40 they become susceptible to prostate problems, when the body starts producing testosterone in a different form, called dihydrotestosterone. It makes a mildly symptomatic prostate very symptomatic. This may be why Saw Palmetto brings relief, because it blocks the production of the hormone. If this happens, you are lucky because usually other issues need to be dealt with, i.e.: poor nutrition, alcohol, depression, stress, caffeine, obesity, smoking, and infections.

Other causes can be a disordered immune system, a uric acid disorder, prostate stones, a urethral stricture, a rare tumor, prostate cancer, or a non-cancerous growth of the prostate. Bacterial cysts may also be located in the ejaculatory ducts, urinary tract, or bladder, rather than the prostate gland.

Acute prostatitis often begins with chills and fever along with abdominal discomfort or perineal pain. Burning urination and prostate swelling may be present as well as a diminished urine stream or difficulty urinating. Prostatitis is found in approximately two out of 10,000 outpatient visits. Increased risk is associated with men 20-35 years old who have multiple sex partners. Practicing safer sex can prevent infections associated with sexually transmitted diseases.

Some preventive measures can be taken and may also prevent reoccurrence of infection - cleanliness being foremost, [Escherichia coli is one of the more common types and this E. coli is typically found in the colon]; increasing fluid intake to eight to ten glasses per day; avoiding fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol, citrus juices, hot or spicy foods, and caffeine in any form. from chocolate to over-the-counter medications. Acute prostatitis is easier to cure than chronic prostatitis.

Get a culture done for anaerobic bacteria and get treatment for it with anaerobic killer antibiotics before you succumb to "non-bacterial" diagnosis. Be sure that your doctor understands the difference between a normal culture and that used for anaerobes. Some bacteria die instantly on contact with air. Usually it takes three hours for the culture to enter the incubator before the collected bacteria die. If you get a negative culture for anaerobes, try an anaerobe killer to see if your symptoms improve. Clindamycin is an excellent anaerobe killer. See:

Clindemycin is very dangerous with a potential to cause fatal colitis. You MUST use acidophilus tablets with each meal, snack, and beverage and restrict your diet to rice, applesauce bananas, mint tea [no caffeine] and saltine crackers. Start the acidophilus and diet a few days in advance. You can take double or triple the recommmended doses of acidophilus. Take a dose every two or three hours, day and night and midway between doses of Clindamycin. Don't use anti- diarrhea medicine when on Clindamycin.

If, while on antibiotics, you have a severe case of anti- biotic-induced diarrhea, you may need to alter your diet and take acidophilus tablets every two or three hours, 24-hours a day. It's best to take acidophilus simultanously with the antibiotics to avoid digestive problems and for about 14 days after you end the antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic treatments vary from two weeks to 90 days. Generally at least 14 days is required for all the symptoms to disappear.

Herbal remedies and vitamin supplements should be considered, where they don't conflict with the antibiotic.

A natural bioflavinoid called 'Quercetin' has been shown to help some prostatitis patients because it contains anti- inflammatory properties, but cannot be combined with Quinolone antibiotics such as Trovan, Cipro, Levaquin, Noraxin, or Floxin.

Saw Palmetto will shut down the prostate [and your libido] and often relieve pain and frequency of urination in a few days. This usually treats the symptoms. For long term use zinc with copper, vitamin E, C, and selenium, because they are good for prostate health. Echinacea and Goldenseal will stimulate the immune system, but temporarily.

Men who have not been helped by regular treatment for prostatitis may find that their problem lies elsewhere. The pain can be caused by a neuromuscular disorder of the muscles and not a problem of the prostate gland. The Urology Times, April 2001, describes a new non-drug treatment used in the pelvic pain clinic of the Urology Department at Stanford University Medical Center. See A second article reports the results of a new study of the biopsyed tissue from 97 men diagnosed with chronic prostatitis. This study shows that there is simply no inflammation in the prostates of 66% of the men in the study. All but four per cent had inflammation so mild as to be insignificant.

Diane Hetrick at the University of Washington said "Men with [chronic pelvic pain syndrome] had more abnormal pelvic floor and abdominal muscular pathological findings than those without pelvic pain." There are people who specialize in teaching relaxation techniques, or muscle strengthening, to ease or repair the problem, but no sure fix for everyone.

Clinical depression is present in over 50% of chronic prostate problems. It is one of the leading killers of adult males and requires professional help. Chronic depression should not be self-treated.

If prolonged treatment for prostatitis is not effective, the possibility of a prostatic abscess should be considered and a computed tomography [CT scan], and magnetic resonance imaging [MRI scan] should be done.

You are going to have to be the one who is well informed and able to question your doctor and demand enough to get your doctor to actively strive for a solution to your prostate problem.


Resources: Diane Hetric, University of Washington

The Prostatitis Foundation, 2000

Urology Times, Vol. 29, No. 4, Apr. 2001, pgs 14 & 45

By Margot B

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