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Prostatitis may be the symptom-producing disease of the genitourinary tract for which men most often seek medical help. About 40% of visits to a specialist in genitourinary problems (urologist) are for prostatitis. Forms of prostate inflammation include acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis and inflammation not caused by bacterial infection. A painful condition called prostatodynia, which may be caused by abnormal nerves or muscles in the region, is also thought to be a form of prostatitis. The chronic bacterial form is sometimes experienced by men whose sex partners have a bacterial infection of the vagina, making this a sexually transmitted disease. Other cases occur when small stones form within the prostate and become infected. Sometimes infection is caused by poor hygiene, surgical procedures, or even swimming in polluted water.

The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea may sometimes cause prostatitis, and tuberculosis may spread to the prostate. Parasites and fungi may infect the prostate gland. Some men whose prostatitis is not caused by any microorganism have microscopic collections of cells called granulomas in their prostate tissue. Whether viruses also may cause prostatitis is debatable.

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