Prostatitis, an infection or inflammation of the prostate gland, is a common condition that can affect men of any age. It’s also a complex condition that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
For James, 26, from Sheffield, it took a number of unusual symptoms, two trips to A&E and referral to a specialist before he was finally diagnosed with prostatitis. This is his story.
I thought, I’m 26, I’m too young for something like that to happen
“It felt like a painful wave, rushing from my feet upwards. I was clammy and sweaty all over and then there were these lower abdominal pains, kidney pain and stopping and starting when I urinated.
It started in February this year. There were three or four days where it felt like something had taken over me. Mother’s Day was the worst, a real family occasion. We’d just finished dinner and I just felt really ill afterwards. I was sick and ended up in A&E, where they diagnosed a water infection and I was given antibiotics.
For a fortnight afterwards, I started to feel well again but as soon as I finished the antibiotics the pain in my kidneys and bladder returned.
I visited my urologist and I remember him saying, “I just want to rule something out.” He gave me a DRE (digital rectal examination) and that was how I was diagnosed with prostatitis.
At no point did I think it could be a prostate problem. I thought, ‘I’m 26; I’m too young for something like that to happen’. There were so many different symptoms that I thought it’s probably kidney or bladder related, I really wasn’t sure.
I didn’t do a lot of reading around the subject but, when I did, I looked for a trustworthy source and I found Prostate Cancer UK. When I visited the website, I realised how much information they had on all prostate problems - not just cancer.
Following my diagnosis, I was put on a six-week course of antibiotics and painkillers. At this stage, I felt relieved that I now had a course of treatment and I knew I could get on top of it.
I got married in August and the prostatitis didn’t stop that being a brilliant day.
The people around me, friends, family, and my boss – they’ve all been great. When I was first diagnosed it did feel a bit awkward talking about it, as a lot of people don’t even know what a prostate is, so it was hard to explain. But after a week or so I became more relaxed about talking about it and I decided to be open with people about my disease, and I was quite detailed too! I’d built up a picture about how they’d react but they were fine with it.
The only worry I had was whether or not it would affect fertility as my wife and I wanted to start a family one day. Thankfully we were told it wouldn’t be affected.
When I stopped my treatment recently some of the symptoms returned. I instantly knew something wasn’t right and my doctor put me back on the same treatment.
I feel on top of it now and hopefully it will burn itself out eventually. I know the symptoms; I know what to do and how to treat it. It didn’t stop me getting married and since I’ve been controlling it, it’s been okay.
Prostatitis is just something I’ve got but I can manage it.
And I’ve decided to help Prostate Cancer UK by volunteering. I want to speak for a younger generation and show it isn’t just older men who get prostate problems.
Read more about prostatitis.