Acute prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate, usually caused by a relatively fast-developing bacterial infection in the male urinary tract. It should be treated immediately because the scarring that can develop from the infection can block the ejaculatory ducts, which are the tiny “ports” that allow sperm to mix with semen during ejaculation.
A lot of guys have mild, chronic infections that produce only subtle symptoms, such as occasional urinary frequency, mild but chronic fatigue, a dull aching in the lower back, testicles or bladder region, or no symptoms at all.
A study of men who did not complain of urinary symptoms, found that 32 percent showed evidence of low-grade infection or prostatitis. That’s a pretty staggering figure — and it’s got some important implications. For one thing, we know that prostatitis can raise the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. PSA is what doctors measure as an indication of prostate health and, specifically, prostate cancer.
If a third of men have unrecognized chronic prostatitis, this means their PSA levels may be higher than normal and they may be shunted into additional tests for prostate cancer when the real problem is a low-grade infection or inflammation that could be easily cleared up with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication.
In addition, the low-grade infections may be hurting the men’s fertility. This is why one of the first things I look for if there’s a question about a guy’s fertility is low-grade prostatitis.