What We Know -- and Don't Know -- About Prostatitis
And Our "Don't Knows" Outnumber the "Do Knows."
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This prostate disease can be so troubling it makes a man's life hardly worth living. Fortunately, our years of experience in prostate problems enables us to help men cope with -- and get rid of! -- this terribly troublesome disease. (Or is prostatitis really three, maybe more, diseases?)
The purpose of the following assay of prostatitis is just to help increase your knowledge of its varying problems, and therapies that can help by asking you to respond to the questions that follow.
Compare your responses with our suggested responses following each question -- but don't cheat and peek at our suggestions first!
1. Which of the following statements best describe how prostatitis affects U.S. men? Mark T (True) or F (False) for each one. Prostatitis ---
___May occur in more men than any other prostate disease.
___Is the most common reason men younger than age 50 seek treatment from a urologist.
___Is the third most frequent reason men older than age 50 seek treatment form a urologist.
___Is the primary cause of E.D. (erectile dysfunction in men younger than age 60.
Only the first 3 responses are true.
2. When your body defends itself against its enemies, like an infection or open wound, the area can swell, or turn red and get hot. These defenses commonly termed "itis," as in bronchitis and appendicitis, are clear markers of inflammation. Therefore the
"itis" in prostatitis identifies this disease as -- (True? Or False?)
___ A painful infection or unhealthy disorder in the prostate and must be treated accordingly.
3. A poorly-understood truth about prostatitis is that it occurs as a whole variety of illnesses, such as -- (Mark True (T) or False (F) for each one that correctly identifies this disease.
___ Acute prostatitis
___Chronic prostatitis caused by bacteria infection
___Inflammatory prostatitis without detectable symptoms
___Prostate pain caused by excessive prostate growth.
Only the first 3 responses are true.
4. Doctors usually diagnose prostatitis through what they call a "differential diagnosis." This is actually a process that includes --(Mark the following True (T) or False (F)
___Finding a symptom like painful urination
___Uncovering a sign like prostate sensitivity when touched
___Finding inflamed cells in secretions from the prostate
___Examining prostate cells obtained by a biopsy.
Only the last choice is false. Biopsies do not apply to prostatitis.
5. When a man complains of pain from a DRE, or has painful muscle spasms, his doctor may "play it safe" by treating him for prostatitis with antibiotics. This treatment is -- (Choose one)
___A wise and thoughtful precautionary measure
___Most often a mistaken prescription for antibiotics
The second choice is correct.
6. Which of the following statements are best at explaining why antibiotics are so frequently mis-prescribed? Mark your choices True (T) or False (F)
___At least 95% of all cases of prostatitis are caused by something
other than infection.
___Bacterial infection causes no more than 5% of prostatitis cases.
___Antibiotics are not justified in the 95% of cases not caused by
The first 2 choices are best at explaining why antibiotics are so frequently mis-prescribed.
7. Since a tiny percentage of prostatitis is caused by infection, diagnosing the disease inaccurately, followed by the use of antibiotics, does not lead to any important consequences to the men so treated. Circle one of the following:
The answer is easy: True.
8. Prostatitis caused by bacterial infection can be: (1) brief and severe or (2) continuing for years and years. Select from the terms below to identify brief/severe prostatitis and long-lasting prostatitis.
The 2 best terms are chronic and acute.
9. Although bacteria-caused prostatitis represents a very small share of this disease, it can become violent and justify the best-possible doctor's care. Do you agree or disagree?
I agree It is not violent so I disagree.
Suggested response: I agree.
10. Let's review: Prostatitis can start from -- (Check all that apply.)
___ An infection of bacteria
___ Damage to the lower urinal tract due to long-term sitting or
___ Obstruction of the urinal tract, or muscle spasms which require
extra pressure to urinate
___ An immune system that produces too much antibodies
___ Constriction of the bladder/prostate/urination channel
Only the first 4 choices are correct.
11. Whether prostatitis is due to bacteria or other causes like those listed just above, all types are the same in causing urgent, frequent, and painful urination, plus pain in the area surrounding the prostate.
12. Modern medical knowledge to identify bacteria finally enables doctors to identify the 5% of prostatitis it causes so it can be cured with antibiotics. (Choose one.)
13. A main benefit of testing for bacteria is to find out if it is the cause of the pain. If no bacteria are found, useless and expensive treatments with antibiotics can be avoided. (Choose one.)
(Yet another true.)
14. According to our prostatitis expert, Dr. Mark McClure, most doctors routinely fail to perform "basic prostatitis tests." What happens, instead -- (Check those that apply.)
___ They treat the disease after incomplete, inconclusive tests.
___ They prescribe antibiotics for non-bacterial prostatitis even
though we know this is not justified.
___ They lack skills in the use of other therapies leading them,
instead to rely on antibiotics.
All are true.
15. Dr. McClure also sates "the plain and unfortunate truth is that so far nobody really knows" the cause of inflammatory prostatitis when bacteria is absent. Which of the following appear logical sources of non-bacterial prostatitis? Check those that appear logical.
___ Injury of the prostate
___ Inflammation of the prostate in responding to excessive
production of antigen ("Prostate-specific Antigen)
___ Stressful or ongoing difficulties in urinating.
___ Pain in nerves affecting the prostate.
___ Excessive orgasms with large discharges of semen
All true except the last one.
What should you do now?
We provide this brief exercise only to give you some idea of the difficulties -- and mistakes -- men encounter when they develop prostatitis. We presume complete details are of interest only to men concerned with this disease, or persons who care about those men.
Full details are too complex to be covered properly on the web.
What to do now? We suggest, nay we urge, the following steps:
1. Join the Society and request our following UPDATE newsletters:
? New Ways to Look at Prostatitis, Part 1. Also Part 2.
? Special Report: Prostatitis Summer 1995.
NOTE: Back issues of UPDATE newsletters listed on page 4
of each newsletter.
2. How to join: Call 1-877-859-3733 Tuesdays and Fridays only 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Or send us your name and address to [email protected]
3. Special question? Telephone us or e-mail your question as explained above.
Your comments will be appreciated! We really need to know what you, and other men with comparable interests, think of this brief prostatitis exercise and the goals of the Society. While this is fresh on your mind, let us know what you think via e-mail.Click to download document