Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. The inflammation can be due to an infection as well as other various causes. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system, and it is a walnut-sized gland found in men that is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine and semen exit the body. Its main function is to produce seminal fluid in order to transport sperm through the urethra.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized and defined a classification system for prostatitis in 1999. The 4 syndromes of prostatitis are as follows:
• Acute bacterial prostatitis
• Chronic bacterial prostatitis
• Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS; further classified as inflammatory or noninflammatory)
• Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis
Pathophysiology: The presence of acute inflammatory cells in the glandular epithelium and lumens of the prostate, with chronic inflammatory cells in the periglandular tissue, characterizes prostatitis. However, the presence and quantity of inflammatory cells in the urine or prostatic secretions does not correlate with the severity of the clinical symptoms. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome is diagnosed based on pain in the setting of negative cultures of urine and prostatic secretions. Neuromuscular dysfunction or congenital reflux of urine into the ejaculatory and prostatic ducts may be a precipitating factor.