What is prostatitis and what is the cure?

—Who knows?

Dear Who Knows?,

Simply put, prostatitis is inflammation or infection of the prostate gland. A man's prostate (only men have a prostate) is a gland that is connected to the urethra just below the bladder and is about the size of a walnut. It produces and stores some of the fluids that comprise semen. Symptoms of prostatitis include fever, chills, pain in the genital region, frequent urination, and in some cases, painful ejaculation. This disorder is more common in men between the ages of 30 and 50, and can often be caused by a bacterial infection that has spread from the urethra. The infection may or may not be sexually transmitted.

Unfortunately, diagnosing prostatitis can involve a little probing — literally. In order to accurately diagnose prostatitis, the physician examines the prostate by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum. If there is an infection the gland will be tender and enlarged. Urine samples and urethral secretions are then obtained and used to find out the cause(s) of the infection.

Treatment involves taking antibiotics, although the condition may be slow to clear up and tends to recur. If you think you or someone you know might be suffering from prostatitis, consult with a health care provider immediately. Columbia students can call x4-2284 or log-in through Open Communicator to schedule an appointment.


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