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Prostate cancer

Updated 21 February 2018

What causes prostatitis?

The causes of prostatitis are not very well understood, although the three main types of prostatitis are based on generally accepted causes.

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The causes of prostatitis are not very well understood, although the three main types of prostatitis are based on generally accepted causes.

These range from bacterial infection to neuromuscular causes. Other less proven but possible causes include viruses, food allergies and so on. Some believe all types of prostatitis may have a combination of causes, or that the condition is a result of a few different diseases affecting the patient simultaneously.

Causes of acute bacterial prostatitis
Acute bacterial prostatitis is believed to be caused by a bacterial infection of the prostate gland. Types of bacterial infections that can cause this condition include:

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli), found in the colon and resulting in infection following urinary tract infections, urethritis, or epididymitis

  • sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomonas, and U. urealyticum

Urethral instrumentation such as a catheter or cytoscope, trauma, obstruction of the bladder outlet, or infection elsewhere in the body can also cause bacterial infections that lead to acute bacterial prostatitis.

Causes of non-bacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome
In chronic non bacterial prostatitis inflammatory cells are found in the prostatic secretions but that no organisms are identified. It is presumed that chlamydia and ureaplasma may be responsible, however as these bacteria are very difficult to culture and identify, the condition is still called “non-bacterial”. As soon as an organism is identified as the cause of prostatitis, it is called chronic bacterial prostatitis.

Non-bacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome often develops in men who have suffered from:

  • urinary tract infection

  • urethritis

  • epididymitis (inflammation or infection of a duct on the posterior surface of the testicle)

Other suspected (non-bacterial) causes include spasms of the pelvic floor muscles.

Causes of chronic prostatitis
Chronic prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection, and may occur in men who have recently had

  • a urinary tract infection

  • urethritis

  • acute prostatitis

Read more:
CANSA Prostate Cancer Support Group
Screening tests for men

 

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