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What Is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate, a gland located beneath the bladder in men. The prostate produces some semen, the fluid that transports sperm during ejaculation. Men of any age can develop prostatitis, but it’s most common in men between 35–50.

Prostatitis Causes

Bacterial infections cause most cases of prostatitis. Prostatitis is rarely a sexually transmitted infection. The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections can also cause prostatitis.

Other causes of prostatitis include the following:

  • An enlarged prostate
  • Injuries to the perineum (space between the anus and scrotum)
  • Medical procedures such as prostate biopsy or urinary catheterization
  • Structural abnormalities or blockages that reduce urine flow

Prostatitis can also be idiopathic, meaning there’s no obvious reason for the inflammation.

Can Stress Cause Prostatitis?

Studies have linked stress with a type of prostatitis called chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Bacteria does not cause the syndrome, but sometimes chronic pelvic pain syndrome can develop after treatment of a bacterial infection. It is unknown why some men develop this pain, but research shows stress, nervous system disorders, and irregular hormone levels may contribute.

Prostatitis Symptoms

Prostatitis infections may be acute (severe symptoms start suddenly) or chronic (symptoms that last for several months).

Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of prostatitis:

  • Difficult or painful urination and bowel movements
  • Cloudy, smelly, or bloody urine
  • Fever, chills, and body aches
  • Increased frequency of urination, especially at night
  • Need to urinate urgently
  • Pain in your lower abdomen, penis, testicles, perineum, or back
  • Painful ejaculation

Can Prostatitis Cause Erectile Dysfunction or Testicular Pain?

Prostatitis may cause pain or discomfort in your testicles or penis, but it won’t stop you from achieving an erection. However, you may find sex uncomfortable if you experience pain with ejaculation.

Prostatitis Diagnosis

Your provider will conduct a physical exam and may order tests to diagnose prostatitis. During the exam, your provider will feel your prostate. A swollen or tender gland means you have an acute infection.  A large and soft gland means you could have chronic prostatitis.

Additionally, your provider may recommend urine or blood tests to check for signs of infection or other problems with your prostate. If you don’t have an infection, your provider may recommend testing your urinary function. They may also do imaging tests, such as ultrasound or X-ray, to look for abnormalities in your pelvic area.

Prostatitis Treatment

Providers often use antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines to treat prostatitis. For acute infections, you will take antibiotics for about a month. However, you may need to take prostatitis antibiotics for several weeks for chronic prostatitis.

Your provider may also give you medicine to ease your urinary symptoms. These medicines reduce inflammationa and relax the muscles in your pelvic area so you can easily empty your bladder.

At-Home Treatment

Try these at-home remedies to alleviate symptoms:

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, citrus juices, and spicy foods to prevent bladder irritation.
  • Drink between 8–16 cups of fluid a day and urinate often to flush bacteria out of your bladder.
  • Take warm baths to relieve discomfort.

Does Ejaculation Help Prostate Inflammation?

Ejaculating can’t reduce inflammation caused by a bacterial infection. However, research shows ejaculation may reduce symptoms of chronic non-bacterial prostatitis.

When to See a Urologist

Your primary care provider can treat acute prostatitis with antibiotics. However, see a urologist (a specialist who treats the genitals and urinary system) if your symptoms don’t improve or return.

How To Prevent Prostatitis

There are no proven strategies to prevent prostatitis. However, you should always maintain the following for good health.

  • Keep the area around your penis clean.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Stay hydrated.

Why Choose University of Utah Health

The Men’s Health team at U of U Health treats men of all ages with genital or urinary issues. Our expert urologists will diagnose and treat complex conditions related to prostatitis. You can trust our specialists to offer solutions to relieve pain and discomfort for your chronic conditions.

Find a Urology Specialist

Schedule an Appointment

You don’t need a referral from your primary care provider to see a urologist at U of U Health. Call 801-213-2700 to schedule an appointment.

Please fill out our online referral form or call 801-213-2700 to refer a patient to our Men's Health team.