A National Survey released
today showed that only 15 percent of Americans have heard of prostatitis, a
sometimes serious and often painful condition that will affect more than half
of the male population at some point in their lives. Surprisingly, of those
Americans who claimed to be knowledgeable about this disease, 16 percent
believe that women and men were both affected by prostatitis. The survey
reveals that most Americans lack knowledge of this common illness and that
women, by a margin of nearly 20 percent, consider themselves either somewhat
or very knowledgeable about this exclusively male disease.(i)
In response to these results, the survey sponsors -- the American
Foundation for Urologic Disease (AFUD), the Men's Health Network (MHN), and
Bayer Corporation -- are launching a national partnership to educate consumers
about prostatitis. Through the partnership, consumers can call the Bayer
toll-free line at 800-206-6300 to obtain a free brochure about prostatitis,
its symptoms, diagnostic tests, and available treatments. Consumers can also
obtain information including a self-quiz and fact sheet about prostatitis via
the Internet at http://www.afud.org or http://www.menshealthnetwork.org.
"Men suffering with prostatitis often don't know what hit them, and may be
reluctant to talk about it because of the fear factor," said Tom Bruckman, of
the American Foundation for Urologic Disease. "Our goal is to get men talking
about this illness -- with their doctors, with their wives, or with their
friends -- so they can find the best treatment, feel better, and resume daily
activities and a healthy sex life."
Of those respondents who considered themselves knowledgeable about this
condition, 83 percent believe prostatitis is a warning symptom or leading
indicator of prostate cancer. "Men who begin experiencing prostate problems
often fear the worst -- prostate cancer," said Jean Bonhomme, M.D., MPH, of
the Men's Health Network. "This fear can be paralyzing and in some cases may
prevent men from seeing a doctor. We're hoping to alleviate some of these
fears and inform men that not all prostate conditions are pre-cancerous.
However, since the symptoms are similar, prompt medical attention is necessary
to obtain a correct diagnosis."
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. Symptoms may
include fever, chills, urgent, burning, or painful urination and pain in the
lower back and genital area (ii). These symptoms can become severe and may
While the incidence increases with age, prostatitis can affect young and
middle-aged men as well (iii). Although prostatitis is not a contagious
disease, bacteria contained in semen could be transmitted to a partner during
sexual intercourse. Infections by bacteria or other organisms are sometimes
the cause of the prostatic inflammation (iv). When the cause is bacterial,
prostatitis may be successfully treated with antibiotics. Bayer makes a
leading antibiotic, CIPRO(R) (ciprofloxacin HCl), used in the treatment of
chronic bacterial prostatitis.
"Men have suffered quietly from prostatitis for too long," said Deborah
Church, M.D., of Bayer Corporation, Director, Antiinfectives Medical Research.
"It is important for them to know that effective treatments exist and that
they can get relief from their symptoms by following the prescribed regimen.
Through this partnership, Bayer is committed to improving men's health and has
a portfolio of products. In addition to Bayer's antibiotic, other products
for men's health include a screening device for prostate cancer, a saw
palmetto supplement for prostate health, and palliative treatment for advanced
Survey Results Show Lack of Awareness
The telephone survey, conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, included 1,002
participants aged 18 and older. The vast majority, approximately 84 percent,
said they had never heard of prostatitis. Of the remaining respondents,
45 percent said they were "somewhat" knowledgeable and 13 percent said they
were "very" knowledgeable. Yet, among those who claimed to be either somewhat
or very knowledgeable, many respondents answered specific questions about the
For example, only 17 percent of those with some knowledge of prostatitis
know that about 50 percent of men will have prostatitis in their lifetime.
Nearly half (43 percent) think that 1 in 20 men will be affected, while the
remainder believe that only 1 in 100 or 1 in 1,000 men will suffer from
prostatitis. In addition, 16 percent of those with some knowledge of
prostatitis incorrectly believe that both men and women can develop
Further, while 60 percent of those with knowledge of prostatitis know that
antibiotics are used to treat prostatitis, many also falsely believe that
surgery (58 percent) and chemotherapy (39 percent) are appropriate treatments
for the condition.
There are three kinds of prostatitis: acute bacterial, chronic bacterial
and chronic nonbacterial. Acute bacterial prostatitis comes on suddenly and
can have severe symptoms that may require hospitalization, whereas chronic
bacterial prostatitis may have no symptoms other than those of a recurring
bladder infection. Bacterial prostatitis can be treated with antibiotics (v).
The causes of nonbacterial prostatitis are unknown, but the inflammation
may be related to organisms other than bacteria (vi). Since the cause of
infection is nonbacterial, antibiotics are not appropriate for this type of
prostatitis. Most treatments focus on alleviating the symptoms associated
with the disorder. These treatments include warm tub baths and an increase of
fluids (while avoiding fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol,
caffeine, and citrus juices).
In some instances, men receive no treatment for prostatitis because they
are reluctant to seek medical attention. Among survey participants, about
half (46 percent) believed that a prostate exam was "painful or embarrassing."
The diagnosis of prostatitis includes evaluation of symptoms, a digital
rectal exam (DRE) to determine the size, shape, and texture of the prostate,
and evaluation of prostate, fluids, and urine for signs of infection (vii).
While the examination can cause momentary discomfort, it is usually not
The American Urological Association recommends a yearly prostate
examination for every man over age 40 and an immediate exam for any man who
develops persistent urinary symptoms. Among male survey respondents under age
55, nearly two-thirds don't schedule a regular urological exam (viii).
- i. Prostatitis Survey, Wirthlin Worldwide. August 2000.
- ii. "What are the Symptoms of Prostatitis" American Foundation for
Urologic Disease. Web site text.
- iii. National Health Institutes of Health: NIH to Study Common Prostate
Condition, Oct. 2, 1998. http://www.nih.gov.
- iv. Prostatitis: Patient Education. AACU/ Bayer 1999.
- v. "What are the Symptoms of Prostatitis" American Foundation for
Urologic Disease. Web site text.
- vi. Prostatitis: Patient Education. AACU/ Bayer 1999.
- vii. Ibid.
- viii. Prostatitis Survey, Wirthlin Worldwide. August 2000.