Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men that surrounds the urethra. It produces a fluid that is part of semen. There are three main types of prostatitis: acute bacterial, chronic bacterial, and chronic non-bacterial.
Acute bacterial prostatitis is the easiest form to treat, but it is also the least common. Symptoms include chills, fever, pain in the lower back and genital area, urinary frequency and urgency (often at night), burning or painful urination, and body aches. Examination of the urine shows white blood cells. Antibiotic treatment is highly successful for this form of prostatitis.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis resembles acute prostatitis, but it is milder and may go on for a long time (months or years). It is believed that chronic bacterial prostatitis is caused by a problem in the prostate that makes the gland a focus for infection. Antibiotic treatment usually relieves symptoms, but they often come back after treatment is stopped.
Chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome or prostatodynia, is the most common form of prostatitis. Unfortunately, it is also the least understood and the hardest to treat. Symptoms include urinary urgency, urinary frequency (especially at night), pain or burning while urinating, difficulty urinating, lower abdominal pain or pressure, rectal or perineal discomfort, lower back pain, painful ejaculation, and impotence. These symptoms may wax and wane for no obvious reason. Conventional medicine lacks a specific treatment for chronic non-bacterial prostatitis. Supportive treatments may be used, including stool softeners, pain medications, and warm sitz baths.
Proposed Natural Treatments for Prostatitis
Grass pollen is better known as a treatment for
Other herbs and supplements sometimes recommended for prostatitis, but that lack almost any supporting evidence, include
Herbs and Supplements to Use Only With Caution
Various herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to treat prostatitis. For more information on this potential risk, see the individual drug articles in the Drug Interactions
7. Carani C, Salvioli V, Scuteri A, et al. Urological and sexual evaluation of treatment of benign prostatic disease using Pygeum africanum at high doses. Arch Ital Urol Nefrol Androl. 1991;63:341-345.
8. Reissigl A, Pointner J, Marberger M, et al. Multicenter Austrian trial on safety and efficacy of phytotherapy in the treatment of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. AUA 98th Annual Meeting: Abstract 103937. Presented April 26, 2003.
9. Elist J. Effects of pollen extract preparation Prostat/Poltit on lower urinary tract symptoms in patients with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Urology . 2006;67:60-63.
Last reviewed September 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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