Text Size + - Print


What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is a condition that involves inflammation of the prostate and sometimes the area around it.  There are several types of prostatitis, each with a range of symptoms.  Some men with the disease will experience severe pain and others will not be bothered; and the rest fall in between the two.  However, the symptoms of the disease do have a significant impact on a man’s quality of life.

What are the different types of prostatitis and their causes?

Acute bacterial prostatitis is the least common type of prostatitis but the most easily recognized.  It is usually caused by a sudden bacterial infection and easy to diagnose because of the typical symptoms and signs. It is a severe urinary tract infection associated often with fevers and chills, and a visit to a doctor or hospital is required. Acute bacterial prostatitis can affect any age group. The symptoms include painful urination; inability to empty the bladder, pain in the lower back, abdomen or pelvic area; and fever and chills.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is similar to acute bacterial prostatitis but the symptoms develop gradually and are less severe.  Characterized by recurrent urinary tract infections in men; this condition can affect any age group but is most common in young and middle-aged men.

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome/Nonbacterial prostatitis /prostatodynia, is the most common types of prostatitis. The exact cause of this non-bacterial prostatitis condition is unknown.  However, the disease could stem from persistent infection, inflammation and/or pelvic muscle spasms. Inflammation in the prostate can also occur without symptoms. For patients experiencing symptoms they do include; pain in the genitals and pelvic area, difficulty or pain urinating, and sometimes pain during or after ejaculation.

Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, are men with prostatitis but have no symptoms, despite having an inflammation of the prostate.  Diagnosis is made when the patient is being evaluated for symptoms unrelated to prostatitis.  In cases such as these is, evidence of inflammation is found in biopsied tissue or specimens of urine, semen or prostatic fluid.

Back to top

Information provided by the American Urological Association.