Posts Tagged ‘prostate infection’

Prostatitis: When It Hurts Down There

August 9, 2015

One of the most common infections affecting men is infections of the prostate gland. This is the gland that is the size of a walnut located at the base of the bladder that surrounds the urerthra or the tube in the penis that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

There are two kinds of bacterial prostate infections: acute and chronic, but only a few of men with symptoms of prostatitis actually have a documented bacterial infection.

An acute infection of the prostate is characterized by high fever, lower abdominal pain, marked urinary frequency, urgency, muscle aches and pains, pain going down the inner aspect of the thigh, and sometimes urinary retention. The patient looks very ill and the prostate is exquisitely tender on rectal examination. Because it is very difficult for antibiotics to penetrate the prostate and cure the infection, it is important that you take culture specific antibiotics for about six weeks. If the symptoms don’t subside within a few days of starting antibiotics, it is important to be sure that a prostatic abscess is not present as this is a urologic emergency and requires a surgical procedure to drain the abscess. At this stage, it can be difficult to be sure on examination, but an abdominal ultrasound or CAT scan can usually make the proper diagnosis.

In chronic bacterial prostatitis, the symptoms are more subtle. The patient’s main complaint is usually frequency of urination, aching in the prostate or testicles and pain of fullness in the lower abdomen. Patients with chronic bacterial prostatitis usually have a history of a bacterial urinary tract infection. The diagnosis is made by doing a special examination of the urine and prostatic secretions known as bacterial localization cultures. This is done by splitting the urine sample into different segments. You begin to urinate and catch the first few drops in a specimen container. Then you continue to urinate and obtain a sample in the middle of urination (a mid-stream sample). You stop urinating and then your doctor examines the prostate with his finger in the rectum. He presses on the prostate with a technique called prostatic massage. This causes some fluid, called expressed prostatic secretions, to leak from the tip of the penis. These secretions are put into another container and, finally, you finish urinating and the last urine specimen is obtained. All of the samples are sent for analysis and culture. If there are white blood cells or pus cells and bacteria in the prostatic secretions, but not in the urine, a diagnosis of chronic bacterial prostatitis is made. Treatment is prescribing culture specific antibiotics for 6-12 weeks.

Bottom Line: Prostate infections are a common affliction of men. The diagnosis is made with a careful history and physical examination. For bacterial infections the treatment is antibiotics that are specific to the bacteria in the prostate.

Attention Bicycle Riders-Your Seat May Be Affecting Your Sex Life

April 25, 2010

A middle age bike rider, who was perfectly potent, noted that his penis went numb at the end of a two-day, 200 mile charity ride.  The numbness continued for nearly six months and was accompanied by the inability to achieve an erection adequate for sexual intimacy or impotence.  After a work-up revealed arterial damage at the base of the shaft of the penis, his potency returned after treatments that increased the blood supply to his penis.

To understand the relationship between bicycle seats and impotence, you need to know a few things about male anatomy. The penis is a hydraulic system. During sexual stimulation, its twin chambers fill with blood until it’s firm and erect. After stimulation ends or there’s ejaculation, the blood leaves and the penis softens again. The trigger for this increased blood flow is nerve impulses that originate in the brain and race down the spinal cord to the penis.

When you’re riding a bicycle, your weight is being focused on the perineum, the area between the rectum and the scrotum, and that’s where the arteries and nerves that feed the penis are located. Since the arteries are essentially unprotected, they’re prone to damage from constant  pressure from the bike seat.   When a man sits on a bicycle seat he’s putting his entire body weight on the artery that supplies the penis.

There are a number of things you can do to protect your potency:

• Penile numbness and excessive genital shrinkage are warning signs that there may be too much pressure on your perineum. The nerves in the perineum are being pinched, which means the artery that feeds the penis is also being compressed.

• Make the following changes in your riding style and/or your positioning on the bike: 1) Make sure your saddle is level, or point the nose a few degrees downward. 2) Check to see that your legs are not fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Your knees should be slightly bent to support more of your weight. 3) Stand up every 10 minutes or so to encourage blood flow.

• There are a multitude of anatomic racing saddles on the market, ranging from ones with a flexible nose to models with a hole in the middle. You may want to experiment with a wider, more heavily padded brand or a “double bun seat” that places the weight on the bones and off of the perineum.

• Heavier riders may be more at risk of arterial compression damage because of the greater weight that’s placed on the perineum. If you’re in this category, you should consider a wider saddle with extra padding.

• When riding a stationary bike, the tendency is to stay seated and grind against big gears for long periods. Get off of the seat as frequently as you would on your regular bike and be certain that it’s set up the same in regards to riding position.

•  Get off of the seat when riding over rough or irregular terrain. Use your legs as shock absorbers.

Most men are not aware of the relationship between their bike and their erections. My final advice for good health is that men shouldn’t necessarily ride farther but ride a lot smarter.