The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder in men. This gland makes fluid that mixes with sperm to form semen.
Prostatitis is inflammation or swelling of the prostate gland. When symptoms start gradually and linger for more than a couple of weeks, the condition is called chronic prostatitis.
Three major types of chronic prostatitis are:
Chronic bacterial prostatitis — In this condition, a bacterial infection causes swelling and inflammation of the prostate. Doctors can definitively make this diagnosis if bacteria and white blood cells are found in the urine. White blood cells are present when there is inflammation that may or may not be related to an actual infection.
Chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, also called inflammatory chronic pelvic pain syndrome — Doctors make this diagnosis when patients have typical symptoms of chronic prostatitis, but no bacteria are found in a urine sample. The cause of most cases of non-bacterial prostatitis is not well understood. The urine often contains white blood cells. Some patients may have a persistent low-grade infection that cannot be detected in a routine urine sample.
Prostadynia, also called non-inflammatory chronic pelvic pain syndrome — This term is used when symptoms of prostatitis are present, but there is no evidence of prostate infection or inflammation.
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