Key Points about Prostatitis

  • Prostatitis is characterized by a prostate gland that is inflamed and swollen.
  • Symptoms of prostatitis vary depending upon the cause, but may include a frequent need to urinate, trouble urinating, or pain in the pelvic area.
  • Treatment requires targeting the underlying cause of inflammation, which may involve taking antibiotics or other medications, as prescribed.
Common related conditions
Enlarged Prostate

Overview

The prostate is the gland that produces semen in men. Prostatitis occurs when that gland becomes inflamed and swollen.

There are four forms of prostatitis: acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Causes and symptoms vary from type to type. People with prostatitis may experience a frequent need to urinate, trouble urinating, or pain in the pelvic area. Some cases may not produce any symptoms.

Treatment for prostatitis also depends upon its type and cause. Call your doctor if you are experiencing pain in the pelvic area, or pain while urinating or ejaculating.

Prostatitis causes

Prostatitis occurs in four forms, and the causes and symptoms vary accordingly. Below are some common causes of each type of prostatitis:

  • Acute bacterial prostatitis occurs when bacteria from urine enters the prostate.
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis can develop after having a urinary tract infection, or after receiving treatment for an acute bacterial infection.
  • Chronic prostatitis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, tends to develop without any identifiable cause. It may be triggered by factors such as nerve damage, external injuries, and stress.
  • Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis can also develop without any identifiable cause.

Prostatitis risk factors

You may be at an increased risk of developing prostatitis if you have:

  • A bladder or urethra infection
  • Experienced external trauma to the pelvis
  • A urinary catheter
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Had prostatitis in the past

Men who are young or middle-aged are also more likely to develop prostatitis.

Prostatitis symptoms

Symptoms of prostatitis vary based on its underlying cause.

With acute bacterial prostatitis, you may experience:

  • Trouble urinating
  • A frequent, urgent need to urinate
  • A fever or chills
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Pain in the penis or scrotum

Symptoms of chronic bacterial prostatitis may disappear from time to time, and then reappear. These symptoms may include:

  • A frequent, urgent need to urinate, including throughout the night
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pain while urinating or ejaculating
  • Pain in the rectum or lower back
  • Semen with blood in it

Chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is characterized by pain in one or more of the following areas, which lasts for longer than three months. Pain areas may include:

  • Scrotum
  • Penis
  • Perineum
  • Lower abdomen

Other symptoms of chronic prostatitis include:

  • Pain while urinating or ejaculating
  • A frequent, urgent need to urinate

True to its name, asymptomatic prostatitis does not cause any symptoms, despite the presence of inflammation in the prostate.

Prostatitis complications

Untreated acute or chronic prostatitis can lead to infections that worsen and spread.

In some cases, asymptomatic prostatitis can cause infertility. Other complications may include the development of pockets in the prostate that are filled with pus, and inflammation of the epididymis.

Prostatitis diagnosis

When diagnosing the condition, your doctor will try to determine the cause, and thus the type, of your prostatitis. Your doctor will likely review your symptoms and your medical history, as well as conduct a general physical examination. Your doctor may also provide:

  • A digital examination of the rectum
  • A urine test
  • A blood test
  • Imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan

Prostatitis treatment

Treatment will vary based on the cause of the prostatitis. Your doctor may prescribe or recommend taking:

  • Antibiotics to treat bacterial prostatitis
  • Alpha blockers to ease pain during urination
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories

When to seek care

Call your doctor if you are experiencing pain:

  • In the pelvic area
  • While urinating
  • While ejaculating

Next Steps

Home remedies and lifestyle modifications can alleviate prostatitis symptoms. The following measures may help:

  • Taking a warm bath
  • Applying a heat pad to the area
  • Avoiding foods and drinks that cause bladder irritation, such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods
  • Drink lots of water
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time