- Prostatitis vs. BPH (Enlarged Prostate): How to Tell the Difference Center
- Impotence Slideshow Pictures
- Sex-Drive Killers Slideshow: Causes of Low Libido
- Take the Low Testosterone Quiz
- Patient Comments: Prostatitis vs. BPH - Symptoms and Signs
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- Prostatitis vs. BPH quick comparison of differences and similarities
- What is prostatitis?
- What is BPH (enlarged prostate)?
- Are prostatitis and BPH the same prostate gland problem?
- Do prostatitis and BPH cause pain?
- How can I tell the difference between prostatitis and BPH (signs and symptoms)?
- What causes prostatitis vs. BPH?
- Where is the prostate gland located, and what does it look like?
- What should I do if I think I may have prostate problems?
- Are the treatments for prostatitis and BPH different?
- Can prostatitis and BPH be cured (prognosis)?
Prostatitis vs. BPH quick comparison of differences and similarities
- Both BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostatitis are problems with the prostate gland, a gland surrounding the neck of the bladder in males. The prostate gland is responsible for releasing prostatic fluid that helps make up part of the semen.
- The normal prostate gland is about the size of a walnut. As it increases in size, for whatever reason, it can press on the urethra and cause urinary problems.
- Both prostatitis and BPH can result in an enlarged prostate.
- Most men over 50 years old have some prostate enlargement with no symptoms, while bacterial prostatitis usually occurs in men younger than 35 years old and non-infectious prostatitis occurs in older men.
- You can have either BPH or prostatitis, and have no signs or symptoms. Nevertheless, both can cause pain (dysuria or pain with urination).
- Prostatitis is caused by infections (usually bacterial) or other related health problems, while doctors don’t know exactly what causes an enlarged prostate, but they think it may be related to hormones.
- BPH can be treated but not cured, but prostatitis is curable in many patients. The large majority of men with prostatitis have an infection of the prostate gland, while those with BPH do not have an infection.
What is prostatitis?
The definition of prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate tissue. Causes of the inflammation can be from infection or other health problems.
What is BPH (enlarged prostate)?
Most men over the age of 50 have some prostate enlargement due to the proliferation of the cells that comprise the prostate gland. Most of these men have BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, even though do not have any symptoms. This gland enlargement is noncancerous and is termed benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH. There is only one type of BPH, “benign,” meaning non-cancerous or not malignant in medical terms.
Are prostatitis and BPH the same prostate gland problem?
The answer to this question is yes and no, because both may have some similar health symptoms (problems), but each prostate problem have different causes. Yes, BPH is by definition an enlarged prostate, and no, because the cause is not an infection/inflammation like prostatitis. However, not all enlarged prostates are due to BPH. An enlarged prostate may be caused by BPH, prostatitis, and prostate cancer.
Do prostatitis and BPH cause pain?
Both BPH and prostatitis may cause pain. However, if BPH causes pain, it usually occurs with urination (dysuria).
Prostatitis may cause painful urination, painful ejaculations, and generalized groin/abdominal pain. Prostatitis pain may be more constant and may be due to the inflammation of the prostatic tissue and/or adjacent tissues. Experts point out that often the source of pain from prostatitis is unclear.
How can I tell the difference between prostatitis and BPH (signs and symptoms)?
If you do not have any symptoms of BPH or any of the types of prostatitis, which can be the situation for some men, you may not be able to tell if you have either problem. However, a doctor or other health care professional can detect enlargement of the prostate with a digital rectal exam (digital examination of the rectal area and prostate), even if you don’t have any symptoms.
If you do have symptoms, they are related to the increase in size of your prostate gland. When the gland enlarges, it can constrict the urethra and produce one or more of these symptoms.
- The need to urinate frequently during the day or night
- The sudden urgent need to urinate
- Difficulty initiating urinary stream
- Feeling like you still need to urinate even though you recently urinated
- Feeling like you need to push or strain to empty your bladder
- A decrease in the force of the urine stream
- Loss of small amounts of urine (dribbling urine)
The symptoms of prostatitis depend upon the type of prostatitis.
Acute bacterial prostatitis (type I) symptoms
- Muscle soreness
- Joint discomfort
- Feeling tired
- Prostatic discomfort and/or pain
- Painful urination (dysuria)
- Low back pain and/or abdominal pain
- Possible urethral discharge
- Urinary stream problems such as frequency, urgency, weak urine stream
Chronic bacterial prostatitis (type II)
- Intermittent painful urination
- Intermittent obstructive urinary tract symptoms
- Recurrent urinary tract infections (with some symptoms for type I)
Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome (type III)
- Pelvic pain and/or discomfort
- Obstructive urinary tract symptoms such as frequency, painful urination, and incomplete urination
- Pain with ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis (type IV)
- By definition, type IV has no symptoms, but sometimes is diagnosed from a prostate biopsy or suspected when a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA blood test) is elevated.
Some men may have some of these symptoms with both BPH and prostatitis. If you are over age 50, it is more likely BPH than prostatitis, and if you are under age 35, acute bacterial prostatitis is more likely than BPH. In some patients, prostatitis may be recurrent (you may get the condition again).
What causes prostatitis vs. BPH?
The cause of BPH or enlarged prostate is by benign growth that enlarges the prostate gland. Researchers do not know exactly what causes the gland to enlarge, but they have speculated that it might be related to hormonal changes as men age.
In men under the age of 35, the most common type of prostatitis is acute bacterial prostatitis, while in older patients non-bacterial prostatitis is the most common type. There are four types or syndromes of prostatitis.
- Type I - Acute bacterial prostatitis
- Type II - Chronic bacterial prostatitis
- Type III Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome
- Type IV is asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
The cause of acute bacterial prostatitis is by bacteria that may be present in the urethra and then infect the prostate gland. Chronic bacterial prostatitis (about 75% of infections are due to E. coli) occurs because of inadequate treatment or because of a structural/functional problem in the urinary tract. Researchers and doctors do not completely understand the cause of chronic prostatitis, but it is speculated that the cause may be initiated by neurological injury and/or related to infection.
Where is the prostate gland located, and what does it look like?
What should I do if I think I may have prostate problems?
Regardless of which problem you may think you have, you should see your primary care doctor. To make the diagnosis your doctor will take a complete history, physical exam that includes a digital rectal exam, and other appropriate diagnostic tests, for example, a urinalysis, urine culture, blood tests such as the PSA test, electrolytes, creatinine, and occasionally blood urea nitrogen levels. Your doctor may order other tests, for example, an ultrasound, endoscopy, urine flow rate studies, and biopsy of the prostate gland. Your doctor also may refer you to a specialist called a urologist, especially if you require surgery as part of your treatment.
Are the treatments for prostatitis and BPH different?
The treatment for an enlarged prostate and prostatitis are very different.
BPH treatment may include an interactive questionnaire to determine the extent of your symptoms. The results of the questionnaire may influence what medications or other treatments you may need. Drugs used to treat BPH include:
- Alpha receptor blockers (alpha-1, alpha- adrenergic, 5-alpha reductase)
- Phosphodiesterase inhibitors
- Anticholinergic agents
Some patients with more severe prostatic enlargement may need surgery. A transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is the usual procedure to reduce pressure on the urethra by reducing the size of the prostate.
Treatment for prostatitis depends on the type.
- Bacteria acute and chronic prostatitis (type I and type II) are typically treated and cured with antibiotics like fluoroquinolones or trimethoprim. These infections typically take longer to cure so you may have to take antibiotics for as long as 4-8 weeks. Some infections of the prostate gland are resistant or unresponsive to treatment so antibiotics like gentamicin or doxycycline may need to be injected directly into the gland.
- Type III, chronic bacterial prostatitis and pelvic pain syndrome, is treated similarly with antibiotics, however, alpha-blockers and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), for example, aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Aleve, Advil), naproxen (Naproxen) also are used.
- Type IV, asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, in most patients requires no treatment. However, some doctors prescribe antibiotics and NSAIDs for this condition.
Can prostatitis and BPH be cured (prognosis)?
The prognosis for BPH for most patients that undergo treatment is good to fair, depending upon how well patients respond. BPH that requires surgery may result in complications such as erectile dysfunction. The prognosis for patients with more severe BPH symptoms that require surgery and medication for symptom relief is fair. There is no cure for BPH.
Most men with prostatitis (all types) may have significant symptom relief, and most men can be cured with long-term appropriate antibiotic treatments. The prognosis for prostatitis ranges from good to fair because some patients have a tendency to have recurrent bouts of the condition.
IMAGESSee a medical illustration of the prostate plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Deters, LA, MD."Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy." Medsape. Updated: Dec 18, 2017.
Turek, PJ., MD. "Prostatitis Clinical Presentation." Medsape. Updated: Mar 20, 2017.
Prostatitis vs. BPH - Experience with Prostatitis
Please share your experience with prostatitis (type, symptoms, treatment)?Post
Prostatitis vs. BPH - Experience with Enlarged Prostate Gland
Please share your experience with BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), for example, what were your symptoms and what treatments have been effective for the pain)?Post
Prostatitis vs. BPH - Symptoms and Signs
What signs and symptoms have you experienced with prostatitis or enlarged prostate gland?Post View 1 Comment
Prostatitis vs. BPH - Treatments
What treatments have been effective in curing your prostatitis? What treatments have been helpful in controlling your BPH symptoms like pain, difficulty urinating, and painful urination?Post
Top Prostatitis vs BPH Enlarged Prostate Gland Related Articles
Abdominal Pain (Causes, Remedies, Treatment)Abdominal pain can have many causes that range from mild to severe. Some of these causes include bloating, gas, colitis, endometriosis, food poisoning, GERD, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ovarian cysts, abdominal adhesions, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and cancers. Signs and symptoms of the more serious causes include dehydration, bloody or black tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, pain with no urination or painful urination. Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause.
Abdominal Pain PicturesAbdominal pain is a symptom of many possible conditions including appendicitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and other conditions. It may accompany constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms. Find out the potential causes of pain in the abdomen and learn when you should see a doctor.
Aches, Pain, FeverAlthough a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Back Pain QuizThere are numerous causes of chronic lower back pain and only one ailment gets more complaints. What is it? Quiz your knowledge of symptoms, treatments, problems, and reasons for common back pain.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Overview
Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure.
Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure.
Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Creatinine Blood TestCreatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. Creatinine is produced from creatine, a molecule of major importance for energy production in muscles. Creatinine has been found to be a fairly reliable indicator of kidney function. As the kidneys become impaired the creatinine level in the blood will rise. Normal levels of creatinine in the blood vary from gender and age of the individual.
ElectrolytesElectrolytes are substances that become ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. The balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and our organs. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. The functions and normal range values for these electrolytes are important, and if an electrolyte is at an extreme low or high, it can be fatal.
Endoscopy is a broad term used to described examining the inside of the body using an lighted, flexible instrument called an endoscope. Endoscopy procedure is performed on a patient to examine the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum; and look for causes of symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, or intestinal bleeding.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
Impotence SlideshowHaving erection problems? What is erectile dysfunction (ED)? Learn about erectile dysfunction causes and treatments such as drugs (pills), pumps, and more.
Low Back PainThere are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
Low Back Pain SlideshowDo you suffer from low back pain? Watch this slideshow to see common triggers of lower back pain and what kind of treatments you can get to help find relief.
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.
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.
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 Symptoms SlideshowUnderstand urinary tract infection (UTI) through pictures. Our experts describe urinary tract infection symptoms like pelvic pain, pain or burning while urinating, bloody or cloudy urine, and feeling the need to urinate frequently. Learn how UTIs are diagnosed as well in infants, the elderly, and all people.
Urinary Tract Infection QuizHow would you know if you had urinary tract infection (UTI)? Take the Urinary Tract Infection in Adult Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for infection that can affect your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.