Prostatitis: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment


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What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is a condition that affects the prostate gland by causing inflammation and swelling. This should not be confused with having an enlarged prostate or with prostate cancer. The prostate is a walnut sized gland located just below a man’s bladder. Its main function is to produce semen. This not only helps transport sperm but also nourishes sperm. Prostatitis can affect men of all ages but is more commonly seen amongst men who are under the age of 50 years. In some cases, the exact cause of this condition may remain unidentified. It may come on suddenly or build up gradually over time. Some types of prostatitis may recur.

Prostatitis can be categorised as:

  • Acute bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome
  • Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis

How does prostatitis occur?

In most cases, prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection. This infection is the result of a leakage of bacteria from the urine into the prostate gland. This type of prostatitis may recur if the bacteria is not completely eliminated from the prostate gland. In some cases, sexually transmitted bacteria may cause prostatitis. Prostatitis may also be caused by nerve damage in the lower part of the urinary tract. This may be the result of a prior surgery or trauma to the area. In many cases, the exact cause of the condition may remain unidentified.

Who is prone to prostatitis?

You could be at risk of developing prostatitis if:

  • You are below the age of 50 years.
  • You have had prostatitis before.
  • You are suffering from an infection in the urethra or bladder.
  • You have been injured in the pelvic region. Example: Injuries from horse riding or cycling.
  • You use a urinary catheter.
  • You have HIV or AIDS.
  • You have had a prostate biopsy.

What are the symptoms of prostatitis? How is prostatitis diagnosed?

The symptoms of prostatitis include:

  • Burning sensation or pain while urinating.
  • Difficulty passing urine.
  • Increased urge to urinate frequently – especially at night.
  • Cloudy urine.
  • Bloody urine.
  • Bain in the groin, abdomen or lower back.
  • Pain in the region between the scrotum and the rectum.
  • Discomfort or pain in the testicles or penis.
  • Body ache.
  • Pain while ejaculating.
  • Flu-like symptoms.


A thorough physical examination including a digital rectal exam is the first step to ruling out other conditions as a cause of the symptoms being shown and confirming a diagnosis of prostatitis. The doctor may also ask for a few tests such as:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests
  • Post prostatic massage

What are the complications of a prostatitis? 

Prostatitis can have complications if left untreated. These include:

  • Bacteraemia or bacterial infection in the blood
  • Epididymitis or inflammation of the coiled tube at the back of the testicles.
  • Prostatic abscess or a pus-filled cavity inside the prostate.
  • In the case of chronic prostatitis, complications may also include infertility and semen abnormality.

What is the treatment for prostatitis?

Treatment for prostatitis depends on the underlying factors triggering it. In the case of prostatitis caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are a common form of treatment. If the symptoms are very severe, these antibiotics may be administered intravenously. In most cases, oral antibiotics can relieve the symptoms in four to six weeks. Longer treatment may be needed in some cases of chronic or recurring prostatitis. Along with antibiotics a doctor may also prescribe alpha blockers and anti-inflammatory medication to ease some of the symptoms.

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Home Remedies

Drink more water

In the case of prostatitis caused by a bacterial infection, it is very important to drink plenty of water. This will increase the frequency at which you pass urine and help remove the bacteria from your body.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can irritate to the bladder. Hence, they should be avoided as far as possible. Also avoid, spicy and acidic foods as these can also irritate the bladder.

Use a sitz bath

A sitz bath is a shallow tub filled with warm water. Sitting in this tub can help relieve the pain associated with prostatitis. Alternatively, you could sit on a heating pad.
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