The prostate is a doughnut-shaped cluster of glands located at the bottom of the bladder about halfway between the rectum and the base of the penis. It encircles the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis. This walnut-sized gland produces most of the fluid in semen. The three most common prostate problems are: infection (prostatitis), prostate enlargement (benign protatic hypertrophy hypertrophy), and prostate cancer.

Prostate Infection (Prostatitis)

There are two types of prostate infection, acute and chronic. Acute infections come on suddenly and have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever and chills
  • Pain and burning on urination and ejaculation
  • Strong and frequent urge to urinate while passing only small amounts of urine.
  • Lower back or abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine (occasionally)

Symptoms of chronic prostatitis are usually milder than those of an acute infection, and fever and chills are usually not present. Either infection may occur with a urinary tract infection.

Prostate infections usually respond well to home care and antibiotics. If the infection recurs, long-term antibiotic treatment may be needed. Sometimes, men will have painful urinary symptoms without infection. This condition, called prostatodynia, is often related to stress or anxiety.

Prevention

  • Increase your fluid intake to as much as 8 to 12 glasses per day, until you are urinating more often than usual. Extra fluids help flush the urinary tract clean.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine can cause a strong and frequent urge to urinate. Remember that colas as well as coffee and tea contain caffeine.
  • Keep stress under control. Stress is closely associated with prostatodynia.
  • Drink as much water as you can tolerate.

Home Treatment

  • Eliminate all alcohol and caffeine from your diet.
  • Hot baths help soothe pain and reduce stress.
  • Aspirin or ibuprofen may help ease painful urinary symptoms.

When to Call a Health Professional

  • If urinary symptoms occur with fever, chills, vomiting, or pain in the back or abdomen.
  • If urine is red or pink with no dietary reason. Always call your doctor if you have blood in your urine.
  • If symptoms continue for five days despite home care.
  • If there is a sudden change or worsening of symptoms.
  • If you have pain on urination or ejaculation and a discharge from the penis.