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 often causes painful or difficult urination. Other symptoms include pain in the groin, pelvic area or genitals and sometimes flu-like symptoms.
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).
Prostatitis signs and symptoms depend on the cause. They can include:
If you have pelvic pain, difficult or painful urination, or painful ejaculation, see your doctor. If left untreated, some types of prostatitis can cause worsening infection or other health problems.
Acute bacterial prostatitis is often caused by common strains of bacteria. The infection can start when bacteria in urine leak into your prostate. Antibiotics are used to treat the infection. If they don't eliminate the bacteria prostatitis might recur or be difficult to treat (chronic bacterial prostatitis).
Nerve damage in the lower urinary tract, which can be caused by surgery or trauma to the area, might contribute to prostatitis not caused by a bacterial infection. In many cases of prostatitis, the cause isn't identified.
The prostate gland is situated just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. Prostatitis is a disease of the prostate that results in pain in the groin, painful urination, difficulty urinating and other symptoms.
Risk factors for prostatitis include:
Complications of prostatitis can include:
There's no direct evidence that prostatitis can lead to prostate cancer.
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:
Based on your symptoms and test results, your doctor might conclude that you have one of the following types of prostatitis:
Prostatitis treatments depend on the underlying cause. They can include:
Antibiotics. Taking antibiotics is the most commonly prescribed treatment for prostatitis. Your doctor will choose your medication based on the type of bacteria that might be causing your infection.
If you have severe symptoms, you might need intravenous (IV) antibiotics. You'll likely need to take oral antibiotics for four to six weeks but might need longer treatment for chronic or recurring prostatitis.
The following might ease some symptoms of prostatitis:
Alternative therapies that show some promise for reducing symptoms of prostatitis include:
Discuss your use of alternative medicine practices and supplements with your doctor.
You might start by seeing your primary care provider. Or you might be referred immediately to a specialist in urinary tract and sexual disorders (urologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
Make a list of:
Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.
For prostatitis, questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as: