Prostatitis (Inflammation of the Prostate Gland)

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: Steven Doerr, MD
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

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When should I see my doctor for prostatitis?

If you have any of the signs or symptoms consistent with prostatitis, you should see your health care professional for further evaluation. Depending on the symptoms and your response to therapy, your doctor may need to refer you to a urologist (a physician specializing in the genitourinary system).

How is the diagnosis of prostatitis made?

Prostatitis is usually diagnosed by analyzing a urine sample and undergoing an examination of your prostate gland by your health care practitioner. This examination involves a digital rectal examination to palpate the prostate gland and feel for abnormalities of the gland. Occasionally, the physician may also collect and test a sample of the prostatic fluid.

Sometimes a prostate massage is performed to compare samples of the prostatic fluid both before and after this intervention has been performed. To perform this procedure, the doctor will stroke/massage the prostate gland during the digital rectal examination. Because there is the concern that this procedure can release bacteria into the bloodstream, this test is contraindicated in cases of acute bacterial prostatitis.

Additional tests that may be obtained include a complete blood count (CBC), an electrolyte panel, blood cultures, a swab of urethral discharge if present, and sometimes a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. The PSA test, which is used as a screening test for prostate cancer, may also be elevated with prostatitis.

Other tests that may also be obtained include urodynamic tests (to check how well you empty your bladder and establish if prostatitis is affecting your ability to urinate), ultrasound imaging, computed tomography (CT) imaging, cystoscopy, and a prostate biopsy.

If you have recurring episodes of urinary tract infections and prostatitis, your health care professional may need to more closely evaluate your genitourinary system for anatomic abnormalities that make you more prone to infection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/17/2016

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