By Dania Kafka, DPT
Men, do you or have you ever experienced pelvic pain, urinary problems, sexual dysfunction, and other health issues, like feeling tired and depressed, or do you know someone who has experienced these symptoms? These are 4 symptoms of prostatitis. What is prostatitis? According to the Prostatitis Foundation, prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland often resulting in swelling or pain. The prostate is a reproductive gland located just beneath the bladder, in front of the rectum. It wraps around the urethra, a tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate produces most of a male’s semen. Up to 50% of men in the US with experience prostatitis in their lives.
Prostatitis is diagnosed by a physician through urinalysis, and a prostate exam. Physicians may also do a prostate specific antigen test through blood testing. Both prostatitis and prostate cancer can elevate a patient’s PSA level.
There are several different types of prostatitis: acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain non-bacterial inflammatory, and non-inflammatory prostatitis, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Acute bacterial prostatitis may be as a result of bacteria, a virus, or an STD, Symptoms may include fever and chills, LBP, frequent and painful urination, weak urinary stream, and infrequent urination, which is best treated with antibiotics, bed rest, stool softener, and increased fluid intake. Chronic prostatitis may be caused by a bacteria or inflammation of the prostate. Symptoms may include frequent bladder infections, frequent urination, and persistent pain in the lower abdomen or back, which is treated with medications, often antibiotics, and changes in diet, biofeedback, and nonprescription supplements.
Non-bacterial prostatitis may be due to pelvic floor dysfunction, usually pelvic floor muscle tightness, trigger points, and myofascial and connective tissue restrictions. Some urologists believe that the pelvic floor dysfunction is an involuntary reaction to the pain of an underlying infection. Even if the work up and lab tests come up negative, some urologists view that there must be an underlying, undetectable treatment for nonbacterial prostatitis. THis can include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants, taking hot baths, drinking extra fluids, and relaxation techniques. Physical therapy for prostatitis includes manual therapy, stretching, pelvic floor muscle retraining, core stabilization, postural re-education, and other modalities in order to stretch out and relax the pelvic floor muscles in order to reduce symptoms.
Physical therapy can be a great treatment technique for bacterial prostatitis in treating the pelvic floor muscle dysfunction secondary to any infection, bacteria, or STD, as long as those medical issues are or have been treated.