man holding his crotch

Does Prostatitis Cause ED?

Highlights

  • Does prostatitis cause ED? While we can’t state that prostatitis causes ED, there are links between the two conditions.
  • The prostate is an essential organ for sexual function, and prostatitis affects its wellbeing.
  • ED and prostatitis share some risk factors, and some ED treatments work for prostatitis.
  • Tadalafil (Cialis) is a promising treatment for severe chronic prostatitis.

Does prostatitis cause ED? Causality is not easy to establish, but we do know that people with a history of prostatitis have a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction than those who never encountered this unpleasant condition. In this article, we’ll explore the links and talk about treatment options for prostatitis and erectile dysfunction.

Does Prostatitis Cause ED?

Despite some evidence to the contrary, researchers seem to agree that a link exists between prostatitis and ED. However, researchers don’t yet understand how prostatitis and ED impact one another.

According to current, simplistic explanations, the pain and physical discomfort of prostatitis prompt patients to avoid sexual activity. This avoidance can create psychological issues that can cause ED over time.

Many studies have confirmed the link between the two conditions. But none have detailed the mechanisms through which prostatitis could trigger ED. Simply put, we know that prostatitis and ED often coexist, but we don’t know why.

Prostatitis is a Medical Mystery

Scientists have defined  four different types of prostatitis.

  • Acute bacterial prostatitis. Different strains of bacteria can cause this condition. The bacteria can originate from your kidneys, bladder, or ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder). Acute bacterial prostatitis requires immediate treatment.
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis. This long-term condition can result from an acute bacterial prostatitis bout or a urinary tract infection. Its symptoms are milder than those of the acute version.
  • Chronic prostatitis. This is the most common type. No bacteria are present with this type of prostatitis, and we don’t have a proper understanding of what causes it.
  • Inflammatory asymptomatic prostatitis. This type of prostatitis doesn’t have any symptoms. The only way to identify this asymptomatic prostatitis is with blood tests.

Since we aren’t sure what causes the nonbacterial variants of prostatitis, we don’t know how they affect erectile dysfunction.

All prostatitis types cause a swollen, tender, and inflamed prostate. And since erectile nerves hug the surface of the prostate, it makes sense that they, too, may suffer when the prostate does.

The prostate is a complex organ with a central role in sexual function. If it is unwell, your sexual life will probably suffer as a result.

Prostatitis Risk Factors

Prostatitis risk factors also link the condition to sexual dysfunction. A 2009 study found links between exercise, sexual activity, and prostatitis. Researchers have noted that men who engaged in regular physical activity were less likely to suffer from the condition.

Likewise, those who were sexually active were less likely to develop prostatitis. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of sexual activity are, therefore, prostatitis risk factors. Coincidentally, the same risks also apply to ED.

Inflammation and a history of the condition are other significant prostatitis risk factors. Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is also a risk factor for prostatitis. We know that BPH can cause erectile dysfunction and ejaculation problems.

Still, the links between prostatitis and ED go beyond common risk factors. Prostatitis even seems to respond well to ED treatments, such as tadalafil.

Traditional Treatment for Chronic Prostatitis

Given how little we know about severe chronic prostatitis, these findings provide some interesting points to ponder for specialists.

  • Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome are difficult to diagnose and treat.
  • Because so much is still unknown, most current treatment methods aren’t based on solid research. Doctors use medications and treatment methods typically used for BPH and other lower urinary tract afflictions.
  • People still rely on alternative treatments, such as warm sitz baths and acupuncture, to relieve pain when it becomes bothersome.
  • Treatments using 5-Ar inhibitors, such as dutasteride and finasteride, seem to work for low-grade inflammation of the prostate. They do not work as well for high-grade prostate inflammation, giving almost no relief to those who need it the most.
  • Antibiotics can help with prostatitis caused by an infection, but they don’t alleviate the symptoms of nonbacterial types.

Tadalafil for Prostatitis

A 2019 study established that tadalafil, the active compound in Cialis, effectively treats severe chronic prostatitis.  Doctors think that they understand how and why tadalafil works for prostatitis.

It appears that tadalafil:

  • Increases the dilation of the arteries improving blood flow.
  • Increases nitric oxide levels. Higher NO levels improve the relaxation of the prostate ducts, increasing the flow of prostate products.
  • Significantly decreases inflammation. Other PDE5 inhibitors, like sildenafil, do not have similar effects, according to the study.
  • Improves prostate oxygenation and blood flow.
  • Reduces the levels of oxidative stress, dealing the inflammation yet another blow.

Other Treatment Options

Inflammation is the root of the prostatitis problem. Anything that can reduce the levels of inflammation in the body should help reduce its symptoms. Doctors can improve the quality of life of patients suffering from severe prostatitis in many ways.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, work sometimes for some people.
  • Muscle relaxants such as clonazepam may work in some instances.
  • Silodosin, an androgen receptor inhibitor, may significantly reduce prostatitis symptoms in some patients.
  • Chondroitin sulfate, a supplement commonly used to treat arthritis, is a possible treatment option but a controversial one. Some research has shown that it may cause recurrence of prostate cancer, while other studies have found that it may have a protective effect instead. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering chondroitin supplementation.

Symptom Management for Prostatitis

Prostatitis can be painful, but symptoms can be managed. Here are few things to try:

  • Heat. Locally applied hot water bottles may reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Kegel exercises. Kegels, designed to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles, could improve blood flow and promote the washout of prostate products.
  • Acupuncture and biofeedback. These integrative therapies may help patients deal with pain.
  • Supplements. Plant extracts like saw palmetto and bee pollen may impact hormones and exert other favorable effects on the prostate.

A Final Word

We can’t say that prostatitis causes ED, but there are indirect links. Prostatitis can lead to BPH, and BPH contributes to ED. What’s more, severe prostatitis causes physical discomfort and pain, so it can also trigger psychological conditions that can contribute to ED.

If you’re experiencing prostatitis symptoms and erectile dysfunction, Cialis or tadalafil, its generic version, is evidence-based treatment that can help with both.

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