Men age 50 or older who have an enlarged prostate have a higher risk for prostatitis. The prostate gland may become blocked. This makes it easier for bacteria to grow. Symptoms of chronic prostatitis can be similar to symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland.
Symptoms can start quickly, and can include:
Flushing of the skin
Symptoms of chronic prostatitis are similar, but not as severe. They often begin more slowly. Some people have no symptoms between episodes of prostatitis.
Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying the bladder
Weak urine stream
Other symptoms that may occur with this condition:
Pain or achiness in the abdomen above the pubic bone, in the lower back, in the area between the genitals and anus, or in the testicles
Pain with ejaculation or blood in the semen
Pain with bowel movements
If prostatitis occurs with an infection in or around the testicles (epididymitis or orchitis), you may also have symptoms of that condition.
Exams and Tests
During a physical exam, your health care provider may find:
Enlarged or tender lymph nodes in your groin
Fluid released from your urethra
Swollen or tender scrotum
The provider may perform a digital rectal exam to examine your prostate. During this exam, the provider inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum. The exam should be done very gently to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria into the blood stream.
The exam may reveal that the prostate is:
Large and soft (with a chronic prostate infection)
Warm, soft, swollen, or tender (with an acute prostate infection)
Prostatitis may affect the results of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a blood test to screen for prostate cancer.
Antibiotics are often used to treat prostate infections.
For acute prostatitis, you will take antibiotics for 2 to 6 weeks.
For chronic prostatitis, you will take antibiotics for at least 2 to 6 weeks. Because the infection can come back, you may need to take medicine for up to 12 weeks.
Often, the infection will not go away even after taking antibiotics for a long time. Your symptoms may come back when you stop the medicine.
If your swollen prostate gland makes it hard to empty your bladder, you may need a tube to empty it. The tube may be inserted through your abdomen (suprapubic catheter) or from inside your body (indwelling catheter).
Nickel JC. In: Wein AJ, ed. Prostatitis and related conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 11.
Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist at the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.