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How is prostatitis diagnosed?

It is not easy to diagnose prostatitis because it is difficult to get an accurate laboratory test that is specific to this condition.

All or some of the following tests can be done to check for prostatitis:

digital rectal examination (DRE): the doctor places a gloved finger into the rectum to feel if the prostate gland is swollen or tender.

three-part urinalysis: two urine samples are collected and analysed, the prostate is then massaged, and a third urine sample is taken containing fluid from the prostate. The urine is tested to see if leukocytes and bacteria are present in the urine. Leukocytes help the body to fight infection, so if there are more leukocytes in the urine than normal, it may be a bacterial infection. Non-bacterial prostatitis is diagnosed when no bacteria are found in the urine or prostate fluid.

PSA test: the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood is measured. Raised PSA levels are a marker of prostate cancer and PSA can also be raised in prostatitis and BPH (enlarged prostate).

Urine PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for STIs: This laboratory test is very accurate and should be done if an STI, such as chlamydia, might be the cause of the prostatitis.

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