- Prostatitis (Inflammation of the Prostate Gland) Center
- Impotence Slideshow Pictures
- Sex-Drive Killers Slideshow: Causes of Low Libido
- Take the Low Testosterone Quiz
- Patient Comments: Prostatitis - Experience
- Patient Comments: Prostatitis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Prostatitis - Treatment
- Find a local Urologist in your town
- Prostatitis facts
- Prostatitis definition
- What causes prostatitis?
- What are the risk factors for prostatitis?
- What are the signs and symptoms of prostatitis?
- When should I see my doctor for prostatitis?
- How is the diagnosis of prostatitis made?
- What is the treatment for prostatitis?
- What are the complications of prostatitis?
- What is the prognosis for prostatitis?
- Prostatitis conclusion
- Ten to twelve percent of all men experience prostatitis symptoms.
- Prostititis is most common prostate problem in men under the age of 50.
- Prostatitis can be an acute illness or a chronic condition.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. The inflammation can be due to an infection as well as other various causes. Prostatitis accounts for nearly 2 million visits per year to outpatient urology practices in the United States.
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system, and it is a walnut-sized gland found in men that is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine and semen exit the body. Its main function is to produce seminal fluid in order to transport sperm through the urethra.
The NIH consensus definition and classification of prostatitis:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis: Caused by a bacterial infection and it typically starts suddenly and may include flu-like symptoms. It is the least common of the four types of prostatitis.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis: Characterized by recurrent bacterial infections of the prostate gland. Between attacks the symptoms might be minor or the patient may even be symptom free, however it can be difficult to successfully treat.
- Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: Most cases of prostatitis fall into this category, however it is the least understood. It can be further characterized as inflammatory or noninflammatory, depending upon the presence or absence of infection-fighting cells in the urine, semen, and prostatic fluid. Often no specific cause can be identified. The symptoms can come and go or remain chronically.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis: This condition is often diagnosed incidentally during the work-up for infertility or prostate cancer. Individuals with this form of prostatitis will not complain of symptoms or discomfort, but they will have the presence of infection-fighting cells present in semen/prostatic fluid.
Quick GuideProstate Cancer Symptoms, PSA Test, Treatments
What causes prostatitis?
Prostatitis can be caused by bacteria that leak into the prostate gland from the urinary tract (the most common bacterial cause) and from direct extension or lymphatic spread from the rectum. It can also result from various sexually transmitted organisms such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, or HIV. Other organisms responsible for infection are the same found most frequently in urinary tract infections, such as Escherichia coli. In many instances (especially in the chronic form of prostatitis), no specific cause of prostatitis can be found.
What are the risk factors for prostatitis?
Men of all ages can be affected by prostatitis, but it is more common in young and middle-aged men. Other risk factors for the development of prostatitis include the following:
- A prior history of prostatitis
- Having a recent urinary tract infection
- Recent use of a urinary catheter or a recent urologic procedure
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Engaging in rectal intercourse
- Having a structural or functional urinary tract abnormality
- Dehydration (not enough fluids)
- Local pelvic trauma or injury such as from bicycle riding or horseback riding
What are the signs and symptoms of prostatitis?
The symptoms associated with prostatitis can vary depending on the underlying cause of prostatitis. The symptoms may appear slowly or come on quickly, and they may improve rapidly (depending on the cause and treatment available) or they may last for several months and they can keep recurring (chronic prostatitis). The rapidity and severity of onset is usually most pronounced with acute bacterial prostatitis. The following are signs and symptoms that may be present with prostatitis:
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.
What is the treatment for prostatitis?
The treatment for prostatitis depends on the underlying cause and type of prostatitis. Antibiotics are prescribed if the cause is a bacterial infection. All forms of prostatitis require supportive care, pain control if needed, and close follow-up with your health care professional. In certain instances, some individuals with prostatitis may require hospitalization. Treatment modalities may include the following:
- Antibiotics: Your doctor will decide the specific antibiotic and the duration of treatment.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: These can help manage your pain.
- Alpha-blockers: By relaxing the muscle fibers around the bladder and prostate gland, alpha-blockers may decrease your urinary symptoms and help you empty your bladder.
- Warm sitz baths
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods.
- Prostate massage: In a few studies, prostate massage has been shown to decrease symptoms in some patients with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis.
- Lifestyle changes: If you cycle or ride horses, it is recommended to suspend this activity until you improve.
- Alternative treatments: Although there are many herbal preparations available, there is no current evidence that herbal remedies are definitely helpful with prostatitis.
- Acupuncture: has shown a decrease in symptoms for some individuals suffering from prostatitis.
What are the complications of prostatitis?
There are several potential complications of prostatitis, which may include the following:
- acute prostatitis becoming chronic prostatitis,
- bladder outlet obstruction or urinary retention,
- abscess of the prostate gland,
- spreading of the infection to the blood stream (bacteremia/sepsis), and rarely
Prostatitis can elevate the PSA level. There is no evidence that prostatitis leads to prostate cancer. If the acute inflammation/episode of prostatitis has resolved, the PSA level will usually return to baseline levels.
What is the prognosis for prostatitis?
- Acute bacterial prostatitis can often be treated very successfully and has a very good prognosis.
- Chronic prostatitis, and especially chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, can often lead to long-term symptoms and discomfort if treatment is unsuccessful. It is important to have close follow-up and continued care by either your primary care physician or a urologist.
- Prostatitis does not increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Prostatitis can be an acute bacterial illness that is often easily treated with antibiotics, or it can be a chronic condition that recurs and requires long-term medical attention.
Medically reviewed by Michael Wolff, MD; American Board of Urology
Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine; 7th edition; Judith Tintinalli; McGrawHill 2011.
Quick GuideProstate Cancer Symptoms, PSA Test, Treatments
Daily Health News
Men's Health Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Men's Health Newsletter
Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine; 7th edition; Judith Tintinalli; McGrawHill 2011.
Prostatitis - Experience
Please share your experience with prostatitis.Post View 34 Comments
Prostatitis - Symptoms
What symptoms did you have with prostatitis?Post View 20 Comments
Prostatitis - Treatment
What medications or other treatments were successful with treating prostatitis?Post View 3 Comments
Prostatitis - Complications
What complications did you experience with prostatitis?Post
Top Prostatitis (Inflammation of the Prostate Gland) Related Articles
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) is very common in men over 50 years of age. Half of all men over the age of 50 develop symptoms of BPH, but few need medical treatment. This noncancerous enlargement of the prostate can impede urine flow, slow the flow of urine, create the urge to urinate frequently and cause other symptoms like complete blockage of urine and urinary tract infections. More serious symptoms are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and complete blockage of the urethra, which may be a medical emergency.
BPH is not cancer. Not all men with the condition need treatment, and usually is closely monitored if no symptoms are present. Treatment measures usually are reserved for men with significant symptoms, and can include medications, surgery, microwave therapy, and laser procedures. Men can prevent prostate problems by having regular medical checkups that include a prostate exam. Contact your doctor or other medical professional if you have these symptoms:
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine
- Difficult urinating
- A frequent urge to urinate
- Dribbling of urine
Blood In SemenBlood in semen is also known as hematospermia. Blood in semen can be caused by many conditions affecting the tubes that distribute semen from the testicles (seminal vesicles) or the prostate gland. Symptoms that may accompany blood in semen include blood in the urine, fever, painful urination, pain with ejaculation, tenderness, and swelling in the testes or groin area. Urinalysis, ultrasound, and MRI may be used to diagnose blood in the semen. Treatment depends upon the underlying cause of blood in the semen.
Blood In UrineBlood in the urine is termed hematuria. Hematuria, whether it be gross or microscopic, is abnormal and should be further investigated.
CAT ScanA CT scan is an X-ray procedure that combines many X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of internal organs and structures of the body. A CT scan is a low-risk procedure. Contrast material may be injected into a vein or the spinal fluid to enhance the scan.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED, Impotence)Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) is the failure to achieve or maintain an erection. There are many potential underlying causes of erectile dysfunction, including stress and emotional problems, brain dysfunction, problems with blood supply to the penis, and structural problems with the penis. Erectile dysfunction is diagnosed by taking the patient's history and physical exam. Blood tests measuring kidney function and blood sugar, cholesterol, hormone, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels may be ordered. Urinalysis, ultrasound, and other more sophisticated tests may be required. The treatment of erectile dysfunction depends on the underlying cause. Medications, penile injections, penile implants, and vacuum devices may be used. Treatment for erectile dysfunction is usually successful. The patient should manage heart disease risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes) as they are related to erectile dysfunction risk.
MRI ScanMRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique which uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.
Prostate Cancer SlidesProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, along with causes and treatments. Know the stages, survival rates and lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Illustrations of ProstateSide View of the Prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. See a picture of the Prostate and learn more about the health topic.
Prostate Specific AntigenProstate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein that is found in the semen. PSA levels are used to detect prostate cancer and monitor the progression of the disease. A condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) can also cause elevated PSA levels.
Seniors Sex ProblemsIt's never too late to improve your sex life. Learn how to overcome common health conditions affecting those over 50 such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis in order to have a healthy sex life.
UltrasoundUltrasound (and ultrasonography) is imaging of the body used in the medical diagnosis and screening of diseases and conditions such as:
- heart valve irregularities,
- carotid artery disease,
- heart disease,
- kidney stones,
- liver disease,
- diseases of the female reproductive, and
- diseases of the male reproductive organs.
UrinalysisUrinalysis (urine test, drug test) is a test performed on a patient's urine sample to diagnose conditions and diseases such as urinary tract infection, kidney infection, kidney stones, inflammation of the kidneys, or screen for progression of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Urinary Tract InfectionA urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the bowel and near the anus, causes most UTIs. UTI symptoms include pain, abdominal pain, mild fever, urinary urgency and frequency. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
UTI SlideshowUrinary tract infections (UTI), including bladder infections, affect women and men, causing UTI symptoms like kidney infection. Read about UTI symptoms, treatment, causes, and home remedies.