Prostatitis refers to inflammation of a secretory gland (prostate) in the male reproductive system. The three types of prostatitis are acute bacterial, chronic bacterial, and nonbacterial.
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Acute bacterial prostatitis is an acute infection of the prostate caused by certain types of bacteria (gram-negative aerobes). This condition may be associated with inflammation of the urinary bladder (cystitis) and an inability to completely empty the urinary bladder (acute urinary retention).
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is also caused by gram-negative aerobes and, possibly, gram-positive bacteria. The inflammatory reaction in chronic prostatitis is less intense than in acute prostatitis, and the individual may have less intense symptoms.
In both acute and chronic prostatitis, bacterial infection of the prostate may descend from the tube (urethra) by which urine is excreted from the urinary bladder, or it can be caused by a sexually transmitted disease (gonorrhea, chlamydia) that ascends the urethra. Bacterial infection may also occur following anal intercourse, or it can result from bacteria that have spread through the bloodstream.
Nonbacterial prostatitis has signs and symptoms similar to those of bacterial prostatitis, except that urinary tract infections (UTI) almost never occur in the nonbacterial form. Nonbacterial prostatitis may result from physical (neuromuscular) injury or an abnormal response of the immune system (autoimmune disease). It is unclear at this time whether either of these factors actually causes nonbacterial prostatitis; the origin of this condition remains a mystery. However, the vast majority (90% to 95%) of prostatitis is nonbacterial (Ahuja).
Risk: Prostatitis usually affects men between the ages of 35 and 50, and 50% of all men will develop symptoms of prostatitis some time during their lives (Ahuja). Prostatitis also frequently affects elderly men with enlarged prostates or individuals who have a bladder catheter. In many cases, however, the cause of prostatitis remains uncertain.
Incidence and Prevalence: In the US, symptoms of prostatitis are the most common urological problem in males younger than 50, and account for more than 1 million physician visits each year (Henderson). The prevalence of prostatitis is about 10% of males between the ages of 20 to 74 (Ahuja). The international incidence for prostatitis is similar to the US. However, in underdeveloped countries there is increased incidence of bacterial prostatitis in conjunction with other disseminated disease; there is also increased incidence in regions where there are higher rates of prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases (Henderson).
Source: Medical Disability Advisor