Everything You Need to Know About Prostatitis

November 08,2021 |
Doctor talking to her urology patient.

Prostate health is an important part of every man’s life. Since prostate cancer is so prevalent, and early detection can often result in a full recovery, seeing your doctor regularly is crucial—especially as you get older. Since the prostate never stops growing, it’s also subject to a number of other conditions. Prostatitis is a condition where the prostate gland swells and becomes inflamed. It can lead to a variety of different symptoms and complications, but is treatable through medication, lifestyle changes, and more. To make sure you’re taking the proper action to stay healthy, here’s everything you need to know about prostatitis.


Types of Prostatitis and Symptoms

There are four different types of prostatitis: chronic prostatitis, acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Each type presents itself with a unique set of symptoms.


1. Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS)

Chronic prostatitis, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is the most common type of prostatitis. The underlying cause of CP/CPPS is unknown, as there’s no sign of infection during testing, but it may be due to certain chemicals present in your urine. CP/CPPS can be triggered and intensified from stress, nerve damage, or physical injury in general. It also appears to be linked to certain immune disorders. Symptoms of CP/CPPS can come and go, but the primary indication of a problem is ongoing pain that lasts over three months. The pain can originate from the penis, scrotum, perineum, lower abdomen, or when you urinate or ejaculate. Other common symptoms include difficulty holding urine, urinating more than eight times throughout the day, and a weak urine stream.


2. Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

This type of prostatitis happens very quickly due to an infection and is considered severe. When bacteria travel up the urinary tract system, it can make its way into the prostate. If that happens, you will likely experience one or more of the following symptoms:


  • Urgent need to urinate, regardless of bladder output
  • Feeling like you need to find a bathroom quickly to prevent an accident
  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Pain around the base of the penis
  • Pain behind the scrotum


Acute bacterial prostatitis requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor at the first sign of infection to prevent serious complications.


3. Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

While this is also a bacterial infection, it tends to be mild and therefore difficult to notice. Because of fluctuating symptoms, the infection often lingers for months. Chronic bacterial prostatitis is more prevalent amongst older men but can affect men of any age. The symptoms include:


  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Nocturia
  • Painful urination
  • Pain after ejaculation
  • Blood in semen
  • Urinary blockage
  • Lower back pain and/or rectum pain
  • A heavy feeling behind the scrotum


4. Asymptomatic Inflammatory

Prostatitis Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is a condition that occurs when your prostate is inflamed without any noticeable symptoms. Many men receive this diagnosis only after a routine prostate exam and health check.


What Causes Prostatitis?

Unfortunately, the cause for each type of prostatitis still seems to be unknown. Bacteria related prostatitis occurs due to an infection, but the cause of that infection isn’t always clear. It could be from an STI, catheter use, bladder infections, urinary tract infection, or more. There are also different underlying causes to pain, making the symptoms of CP/CPPS difficult to diagnose without further testing. Pelvic pain can also occur from muscle tension, prostate stones, a urethral stricture, scar tissue, prostate cancer, or benign prostatic hyperplasia. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to see your urologist to undergo further diagnostic testing.


Risk Factors to Consider

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent prostatitis other than making sure that you address any infections early on. Keep an eye on your health, especially if you have any of the following risk factors:


  • Previous prostatitis diagnosis
  • Bladder or urethra infections
  • Pelvic trauma
  • Nerve damage
  • Using a urinary catheter
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • High stress levels


If you have prostatitis, certain things have been shown to increase the severity of symptoms. These include eating more spicy, marinated, or pickled foods, alcohol consumption, caffeine, stress, high impact sports, and increased sexual activity. Call your doctor if you notice any symptoms to undergo the proper diagnostic testing.


Diagnosing Prostatitis

Getting a diagnosis is critical in reducing the risk of complications such as blood infections, prostatic abscesses, sexual dysfunction, and inflammation of surrounding organs. Your urologist will begin going over your personal and family medical history alongside any symptoms present. They will then move on to a physical exam and some commonly performed urology tests if needed.


Physical Exam

During the physical exam, your urologist will examine your body to look for discharge, enlarged glands, and any swollen or tender areas. You will also undergo a digital rectal exam so your urologist can check your prostate. This is done to see if the prostate is enlarged or has any abnormalities present.


Transrectal Ultrasound

Depending on the symptoms present, your urologist may recommend a transrectal ultrasound. This creates an image of different organs, including the prostate, so that they can be examined for abnormalities.



A urinalysis is performed to test a patient’s urine for any signs of infection. This helps solidify the diagnostic testing, especially in cases of bacterial prostatitis. For abnormalities, a sample will be sent to the lab to identify bacterial presence and type.



This diagnostic test uses a small, tubelike camera to get a visual of the inside of the urethra and bladder. The cystoscope enters through the tip of the penis and through the urinary tract after local anesthesia is applied. This test is performed to look for abnormalities in the urinary tract that may be causing symptoms.



Urodynamic testing involves a number of different tests aimed at evaluating the efficacy of the bladder and urethra function. They’re performed to see how well the bladder is able to hold and empty urine. Some urodynamic testing may require local anesthesia.


Treatment Options for Prostatitis

Treatment for prostatitis depends on the type that you’re diagnosed with. Luckily, there are a wide variety of options for you to try. Your doctor will give you a treatment plan to follow and monitor the results. If they’re not providing relief, alternative treatments may be recommended.


  • Type-Specific Treatment – each different type of prostatitis requires an individualized treatment plan. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action. For asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, no action is necessary aside from monitoring for any new symptoms.


  • Antibiotics – antibiotics are often used as a first defense to make sure that any bacteria present is addressed. This is the key to limiting the spread of infection further.


  • Lifestyle Changes – maintaining a healthy weight and eating whole, nutritious foods can help ease your symptoms. It’s also important to manage your stress and anxiety and get an adequate amount of exercise.


  • Alpha-Blockers – these are medications used to help relax the muscles surrounding the prostate and bladder. They help to alleviate symptoms associated with inflammation.


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents – if you’re experiencing pain due to inflammation, your doctor may recommend taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or other approved anti-inflammatory agents to help the muscles relax.


  • Prostatic Massage – this is not necessarily a “massage,” but rather the act of draining the prostate ducts while simultaneously addressing tension in surrounding muscles. Once completed, the pressure on the prostate is relieved.


  • Biofeedback – this helps you learn how to relax certain muscles to ease symptoms commonly associated with prostatitis. You’ll work with a specialist during biofeedback sessions to get guided information on how to voluntarily reduce tension throughout your pelvis and surrounding muscles.


  • Surgery – in rare cases, surgery may be needed on the urethra or prostate. This is often due to very exact causes such as urethral strictures of scar tissue. If you need surgery to treat prostatitis, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you in more detail and answer any questions.


Men of all ages can experience problems with their prostate. Due to the potential complications, similarity of symptoms across conditions, and prevalence of prostate cancer rates, seeing your urologist regularly is important. This is especially true if you’re experiencing any discomfort or urinary symptoms. After a proper diagnosis, treatment should begin to help. During this time, if you need support with treatment plans or urology health, Byram Healthcare has a range of high-quality urology supplies that can be discreetly delivered directly to your doorstop. Visit our urology product catalog today to learn more.