Prostatitis is swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland situated directly below the bladder in men. The prostate gland produces fluid (semen) that nourishes and transports sperm.
Prostatitis signs and symptoms depend on the cause. They can include:
Prostatitis affects men of all ages but tends to be more common in men 50 or younger. The condition has a number of causes. Sometimes the cause isn't identified. If prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection, it can usually be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the cause, prostatitis can come on gradually or suddenly. It might improve quickly, either on its own or with treatment. Some types of prostatitis last for months or keep recurring (chronic prostatitis).
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can turn into bacterial prostatitis. Unprotected sexual
intercourse can also let bacteria into the urethra (the urine passage between the bladder and the
tip of the penis), which can then move up to the prostate.
Other cases of bacterial prostatitis happen when there is a blockage at the outlet of the bladder. Bladder outlet obstructions can cause urinary tract infections, which can then spread to the prostate.
Other things that can make you more likely to develop prostatitis include diabetes, poor health, or a weakened immune system.
Diagnosing prostatitis involves ruling out other conditions as the cause of your symptoms and determining what kind of prostatitis you have. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and your symptoms. He or she will also do a physical exam, which will likely include a digital rectal examination.
Initial diagnostic tests might include:
Prostatitis treatments depend on the underlying cause. They can include:
The following might ease some symptoms of prostatitis:
Complementary therapies that show some promise for reducing symptoms of prostatitis include:
Prostatitis can be very painful. If you’re unsure about whether the condition can be treated, this can
lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness. Prostatitis can also lower your sex drive, because the
pain can make it hard to enjoy sexual activity.
Reaching out to family and partners for support can help in dealing with ongoing prostatitis. Although it can be an unpleasant condition, there are treatments that can help with the symptoms.
Dr Robert Tan is a practicing consultant urologist with over 35 years of experience. He graduated from the medical school at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and has cared for thousands of patients over the decades.View Profile
Dr Lincoln Tan is a consultant urologist and accredited robotic surgeon. Dr Tan is trained in all aspects of open and endoscopic urology and specialises in the minimally invasive treatment of urologic cancers.View Profile