Harvard Perspectives on Prostate Disease

Treating prostatitis: Any cause for optimism?

Michael P. O'Leary, M.D., M.P.H., looks at what may be ahead

Prostatitis gets little press, but it's an all-too-common genitourinary condition in men. It accounts for about 1.8 million visits to the doctor's office in the United States each year. Depending on how you define the term, 9% to 16% of men experience prostatitis. It's also an "equal opportunity" disorder. Unlike benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer, which predominantly affect older men, prostatitis affects men of all ages.

Despite its commonness, little is known about what sparks prostatitis or, more importantly, how to treat it. Frustrated patients visit one doctor after another in search of a remedy, but they usually leave disappointed. Relative to other prostate conditions, little research has been conducted on prostatitis. But a few bright spots may be emerging.

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