Prostatitis Treatment Overview
Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul Song M.D
There are so many different options for prostatitis treatment. The treatments range from conventional pharmaceutical drugs to the many well-researched natural, complementary, and alternative treatments. Treatment can differ greatly based on the type of prostatitis (bacterial or nonbacterial) and whether the case of prostatitis is chronic or acute. Plus, there are a number of different prostatitis causes, especially when treating chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), so treatment will vary based on what is causing the symptoms and the type of symptoms. In general, an individualized treatment plan that utilizes a variety of different modalities is going to provide the best long-term treatment and relief.
Bacterial cases of prostatitis will involve antibiotics, but treatment should also involve some natural supplements and other therapies, especially if the patient has chronic bacterial prostatitis. The symptoms can be continuous or leave and recur for three months or longer with chronic bacterial prostatitis. But the more complicated and much more common type of prostatitis affecting most men is CP/CPPS.
When dealing with CP/CPPS, patients will most likely need to employ many different prostatitis treatments to find relief. There are so many different causes, and men can have more than one contributor to their pelvic pain. There are some systems a doctor can use to help narrow down the most effective treatments.
The UPOINT system of diagnosing and treating prostatitis can help the doctor narrow down the types of symptoms they are treating and determine the potential causes of the prostatitis. Through the UPOINT (which stands for Urinary, Psychosocial, Organ Specific, Infection, Neurologic/Systemic, Tenderness of Skeletal Muscles) system, a health care provider can classify the symptoms, using that information to personalize a treatment program for the patient that treats the specific problems rather that just throwing the regular course of treatment at the patient and hoping something works. Targeting therapy to treat specific symptoms or causes helps patients to avoid being subjected to chemicals and treatments that are not right for their condition.
In addition to UPOINT, there is a system that was developed by Dr. Geo Espinosa, a naturopathic urologist. The “NPAT” Treatment Program for CPPS takes a whole-body approach to treating chronic prostatitis by incorporating natural and alternative treatments. The NPAT treatment program applies an individualized multimodal approach to treating CPPS.
NPAT stands for:
- Natural treatments (ALCAT, elimination diets, and wheat-free diets)
- Phytotherapy (pollen and quercetin together with probiotics)
- Alternative treatments (acupuncture, prostate massage, pelvic rehabilitation and therapy)
- Total body (exercise, chronic stress management, lifestyle)
Both UPOINT and NPAT utilize phytotherapy for CP/CPPS. Phytotherapy has been shown to have long-term favorable outcomes for CPPS patients.
Patients suffering from bacterial prostatitis will need to take antibiotics initially. Unfortunately, many doctors immediately prescribe antibiotics for all prostatitis patients whether they have a bacterial or nonbacterial cause. The problem with that plan is that for men who do not have an infection—and about 95% of prostatitis cases are nonbacterial CPPS—antibiotics won’t work.
Antibiotic use leads to other health problems. Some antibiotics like Cipro have some nasty side effects and can cause serious long-term debilitating health problems (including risk of nerve damage and tendon rupture). Overuse of antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance, which can lead to problems down the road. When you have antibiotic resistance, the drugs won’t work as well as you need them to if you do get an infection that requires antibiotics (or a medical procedure like a prostate biopsy). Research demonstrates that that the majority of men who get infections after having a prostate biopsy had previously taken antibiotics, so when the doctor prescribes Cipro to a man who has already taken it before to prevent infection from the biopsy, the drug does not work as well as it does for men who haven’t previously taken it. Antibiotics also kill off the beneficial bacteria and yeasts in the body, throwing off the balance of good and bad bacteria. That can allow unknown fungal infections to flourish and that make prostatitis symptoms worse even after the bacteria are gone. That is why taking probiotics, which restore the beneficial bacteria, are a good idea, especially when you have to take antibiotics.
Even though you’ll need to take antibiotics if have bacterial prostatitis, you should also take supplements if you suffer from chronic bacterial prostatitis. Studies have shown that taking supplements along with antibiotics provides better long-term symptom relief and keeps the symptoms from recurring in the months following treatment.
You’ll find that there are a number of natural prostatitis treatments to help boost immunity and relieve prostatitis symptoms. Dr. Geo’s NPAT Program is a whole-body approach to healing that helps patients and doctors look at diet, possible allergens, foods to avoid, and other aspects of health that can help relieve prostatitis and improve overall wellness over the long-term. When considering natural prostatitis treatments, many men find success with taking supplements such as quercetin, turmeric, and pollen extract, and minerals such as zinc. The many prostatitis supplements work well with each other and with other treatments to support prostate health, reduce inflammation, and help support urinary health.
Alternative prostatitis treatments help with pelvic tension and pain. The diverse variety of alternative therapies can help patients regain wellness, relieve pain, relieve stress, and rehabilitate the pelvic floor. Depending on the symptoms and the cause of the prostatitis problems, there are so many choices, and doctors do recommend using several different treatments to attack the prostatitis from different angles. As mentioned, taking probiotics for prostatitis can help restore digestive health, which is particularly important after being on a course of antibiotics (as so many men with prostatitis have been). Alternative therapies include stress management techniques (like meditation and yoga) and exercises for relieving tension in the pelvic floor as well as prostate massage, acupuncture, biofeedback therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and many more.
A holistic approach to prostatitis treatment is easier on your body. The good thing about alternative and natural prostatitis treatments is that they offer therapeutic relief without the negative side effects that you may get from taking medications such as muscle relaxers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and antidepressants, which are often prescribed for CPPS. Drugs that help with urinary flow such as alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (Flomax, Avodart, Proscar, etc) also have some serious negative sexual and other side effects. Meanwhile, there are natural products that can act in similar ways to the medications without the unwanted side effects that can help preserve quality of life and keep from creating new problems in the body.
Treating prostatitis holistically includes eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, getting exercise, and adopting other healthy habits such as avoiding certain foods, additives, and chemicals. A holistic treatment route boosts the immune system and hopefully treats not just the symptoms but attacks the source of your prostatitis so you can keep it from coming back. Because so many cases of prostatitis originate in an area of the body outside of the prostate itself, a whole-body approach to wellness will be the ticket to success.