Definition of Prostatitis

Prostatitis diagram

Prostatitis is a condition that involves inflammation of the prostate and sometimes the area around it.  There are several types of prostatitis, each with a range of symptoms. Some are related in bacterial infection, and some are not. Some men with the disease will experience severe pain and others will not be bothered; and the rest fall in between the two.  However, the symptoms of the disease do have a significant impact on a man’s quality of life.

The two most common types of prostatitis are acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis. Acute bacterial prostatitis is a temporary condition that usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Chronic bacterial prostatitis develops more gradually and can last for months or years. Other types of prostatitis include prostatodynia and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.


The symptoms depend on the type of prostatitis infection the man is suffering from. Often men do not notice any symptoms, while some experience symptoms similar to that of a urinary tract infection.  The following are common symptoms of prostatitis among men:

Note: It is very important to be evaluated by a medical professional to determine if the patient has prostatitis and which type so that it can be properly treated. To schedule an appointment, find a urologist nearest you.

Patients may experience:

  • Pain areas in the back, bladder, genital area, groin, lower abdomen, lower back, pelvis, prostate, rectum, or testicle
  • Pain circumstances can occur during urination
  • Urinary dribbling after urination, excessive urination at night, frequent urge to urinate, frequent urination, urinary retention, or blood in urine
  • Whole body chills, fatigue, or fever
  • Discomfort or painful ejaculation
  • Cancer-related fatigue or fatigue
  • Swelling of scrotum
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • A lump or enlargement in either testicle
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts


The direct causes of prostatitis are not fully known by the medical community.  However, there are several accepted theories. Some cases of prostatitis are clearly related to acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis infections.  These infections get into the prostate from the urethra by backward flow of infected urine into the prostate ducts. Bacterial prostatitis is not contagious and is not a sexually transmitted disease. A sexual partner cannot catch this infection.

Higher risk for getting prostatitis might occur if the patient:

  • Recently had a medical instrument, such as a urinary catheter inserted during a medical procedure
  • Engaged in rectal intercourse
  • Has an abnormal urinary tract
  • Has had a recent bladder infection
  • Has an enlarged prostate

Other causes may include autoimmune disease (an abnormal reaction of the body to the prostate tissue).

Diagnosis & Treatment

If symptoms of prostatitis are present, your urologist while likely perform a physical exam as well as a digital rectal exam to determine the severity.

Additionally, the following tests may be ordered in order to confirm a diagnosis:

  • CBC (complete blood count)
  • A urinalysis, or urine tests, to check for bacteria
  • Blood chemistry tests
  • PSA test (prostate-specific antigen)

If any of these tests reveal a positive prostatitis diagnosis, the following treatment options are available to patients:

  • Pain medications and muscle relaxants
  • Anti-inflammatory medication along with warm baths
  • Antibiotics for infectious prostatitis
  • Surgical removal of the infected portions of the prostate
  • Supportive therapies for chronic prostatitis including stool softeners and prostate massage

View our procedures to learn more about the in-office treatment of prostatitis

Additionally, lifestyle and diet changes have been known to help with prevention and treatment of this condition. Learn more about prevention here.