Prostatitis - bacterialChronic prostatitis - bacterial; Acute prostatitis
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. This problem can be caused by an infection with bacteria. However, this is not a common cause.
Acute prostatitis starts quickly. Long-term (chronic) prostatitis lasts for 3 months or more.
Ongoing irritation of the prostate that is not caused by bacteria is called chronic nonbacterial prostatitis.
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis causes long-term pain and urinary symptoms. It involves the prostate gland or other parts of a man's lower urinary ...
Any bacteria that can cause a urinary tract infection can cause acute bacterial prostatitis.
Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection of the urinary tract. The infection can occur at different points in the urinary tract, including...
Chlamydia is an infection. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is most often spread through sexual contact.
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI).
- Certain sexual practices, such as having anal sex without wearing a condom
- Having many sexual partners
In men over age 35 years, E coli and other common bacteria most often cause prostatitis. This type of prostatitis may begin in the:
- Epididymis, a small tube that sits on top of the testes.
- Urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder and out through the penis.
Acute prostatitis may also be caused by problems with the urethra or prostate, such as:
- Blockage that reduces or prevent the flow of urine out of the bladder
- Foreskin of the penis that cannot be pulled back (phimosis)
- Injury to the area between the scrotum and anus (perineum)
- Urinary catheter, cystoscopy, or prostate biopsy (removing a piece of tissue to look for cancer)
A urinary catheter is a tube placed in the body to drain and collect urine from the bladder.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
Cystoscopy is a surgical procedure. This is done to see the inside of the bladder and urethra using a thin, lighted tube.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
Men age 50 years or older who have an enlarged prostate have a higher risk for prostatitis. The prostate gland may become blocked. This makes it easier for bacteria to grow. Symptoms of chronic prostatitis can be similar to symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland.
Symptoms can start quickly, and can include:
- Flushing of the skin
- Lower stomach tenderness
- Body aches
Symptoms of chronic prostatitis are similar, but not as severe. They often begin more slowly. Some people have no symptoms between episodes of prostatitis.
Urinary symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- Burning or pain with urination
- Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying the bladder
- Foul-smelling urine
- Weak urine stream
Other symptoms that may occur with this condition:
- Pain or aching in the abdomen above the pubic bone, in the lower back, in the area between the genitals and anus, or in the testicles
- Pain with ejaculation or blood in the semen
- Pain with bowel movements
Epididymitis is swelling (inflammation) of the tube that connects the testicle with the vas deferens. The tube is called the epididymis.
Orchitis is swelling (inflammation) of one or both of the testicles.
Exams and Tests
During a physical exam, your health care provider may find:
- Enlarged or tender lymph nodes in your groin
- Fluid released from your urethra
- Swollen or tender scrotum
The provider may perform a digital rectal exam to examine your prostate. During this exam, the provider inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum. The exam should be done very gently to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria into the blood stream.
Digital rectal exam
A digital rectal exam is an examination of the lower rectum. The health care provider uses a gloved, lubricated finger to check for any abnormal fin...
The exam may reveal that the prostate is:
- Large and soft (with a chronic prostate infection)
- Swollen, or tender (with an acute prostate infection)
Urinalysis is the physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of urine. It involves a number of tests to detect and measure various compounds th...
A urine culture is a lab test to check for bacteria or other germs in a urine sample. It can be used to check for a urinary tract infection in adults...
Prostatitis may affect the results of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a blood test to screen for prostate cancer.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by prostate cells. The PSA test is done to help screen for and follow prostate cancer in men....
Antibiotics are often used to treat prostate infections.
- For acute prostatitis, you will take antibiotics for 2 to 6 weeks.
- For chronic prostatitis, you will take antibiotics for at least 2 to 6 weeks. Because the infection can come back, you may need to take medicine for up to 12 weeks.
Often, the infection will not go away, even after taking antibiotics for a long time. Your symptoms may come back when you stop the medicine.
If your swollen prostate gland makes it hard to empty your bladder, you may need a tube to empty it. The tube may be inserted through your abdomen (suprapubic catheter) or through your penis (indwelling catheter).
A urinary catheter is a tube placed in the body to drain and collect urine from the bladder.
To care for prostatitis at home:
Prostatitis at home
You have been diagnosed with bacterial prostatitis. This is an infection of the prostate gland.
- Urinate often and completely.
- Take warm baths to relieve pain.
- Take stool softeners to make bowel movements more comfortable.
- Avoid substances that irritate your bladder, such as alcohol, caffeinated foods and drinks, citrus juices, and hot or spicy foods.
- Drink more fluid (64 to 128 ounces or 2 to 4 liters per day) to urinate often and help flush bacteria out of your bladder.
Get checked by your provider after you finish taking your antibiotic treatment to make sure the infection is gone.
Acute prostatitis should go away with medicine and minor changes to your diet and behavior.
It may come back or turn into chronic prostatitis.
Complications may include:
- Inability to urinate (urinary retention)
- Spread of bacteria from the prostate to the bloodstream (sepsis)
- Chronic pain or discomfort
- Inability to have sex (sexual dysfunction)
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if you have symptoms of prostatitis.
Not all types of prostatitis can be prevented. Practice safe sex behaviors.
Safe sex means taking steps before and during sex that can prevent you from getting an infection, or from giving an infection to your partner....
Nickel JC. Inflammatory and pain conditions of the male genitourinary tract: prostatitis and related pain conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 13.
Nicolle LE. Urinary tract infection. In: Lerma EV, Sparks MA, Topf JM, eds. Nephrology Secrets. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 46.
McGowan CC. Prostatitis, epididymitis, and orchitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 110.
US Department of Health and Human Services; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prostatitis: inflammation of the prostate. www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/prostate-problems/prostatitis-inflammation-prostate. Updated July 2014. Accessed August 7, 2019.
Male reproductive anatomy - illustration
The male reproductive structures include the penis, the scrotum, the testicles (testes), the epididymis, the seminal vesicles, and the prostate.
Male reproductive anatomy
Review Date: 7/31/2019
Reviewed By: Sovrin M. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.