Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. There are two types of prostatitis that are caused by a bacterial infection: acute bacterial prostatitis and chronic bacterial prostatitis. The two other types of prostatitis are nonbacterial prostatitis and prostatodynia, but the cause of these types is unknown. Prostatitis it is a very common disorder that affects approximately 50% of men in their lifetime. It can affect a man at any age.

Types of Prostatitis

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis:
One in 10 men with prostatitis have this type of prostatitis. It develops suddenly like any other major bacterial infection. It may be caused by E. coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, or other types of bacteria. Symptoms are often severe and, therefore, are usually quickly diagnosed.

Chronic Bacterial Prostatits:
One in 10 men with prostatitis have this type of prostatitis as well. This type of prostatitis tends to reoccur after the initial infection has been treated and symptoms disappear. Symptoms are less severe than those experienced with acute bacterial prostatitis

Nonbacterial Prostatits:
Six in 10 men with prostatitis have this type of prostatitis. The inflammation may be related to organisms other than bacteria or to factors that are unknown or difficult to determine.

This type of prostatitis is also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Individuals with prostatodynia experience the same symptoms as they would with prostatitis, but do not have the inflammation that is present with prostatitis.

The symptoms you may experience will vary depending on the type of prostatitis that you have. Some symptoms common to all types of prostatitis include fever, lower back pain and frequent urinary tract infections. Prostatitis is sometimes difficult to distinguish from other infections in the urinary tract.

Risk Factors:
There are some factors that can increase the risk of developing prostatitis. Some of these risk factors include: (i) obstruction of the bladder outlet from a stone, tumor or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), (ii) suppressed immune system, (iii) utilization of a catheter, or (iv) the presence of sexually transmitted diseases.

Follow-up and Treatment Options

The follow up and treatment plan for an individual with prostatitis varies depending on whether or not it is caused by an infection. Only a physician can determine the most appropriate treatment.

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis:
Your physician will likely prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the infection which is causing the inflammation.

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis:
This condition is often more difficult to cure than acute bacterial prostatitis. There is generally an underlying factor that needs to be removed before antibiotics can effectively treat the infection.

Nonbacterial Prostatitis:
Antibiotics will not help nonbacterial prostatitis. Changing your diet or taking warm baths may help. Your doctor may prescribe an alpha blocker to relax the muscle tissue in the prostate. Depending on the cause of irritation, different treatments may be used.

Muscle relaxants, alpha-blockers, biofeedback and relaxation exercises may alleviate some of the symptoms experienced by individuals with prostatodynia.

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
  • What type of prostatitis do I have?
  • Are there any other tests that we need to perform?
  • What treatment do you suggest?
  • What are the benefits of this type of treatment?
  • What are the risks and side effects of this treatment option?
  • What are the steps after treatment?
  • What are the chances of recurrence after my treatment plan?
Sources for Additional Information

The content of this web page and corresponding downloadable handout is provided to you as general information and not intended as a diagnosis. Please consult with your personal physician regarding the essential details about your condition. Updated 12/2013.

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