Condition 101 About Bacterial Prostatitis

What is the definition of Bacterial Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. This problem can be caused by an infection with bacteria. However, this is not a common cause.

Acute prostatitis starts quickly. Long-term (chronic) prostatitis lasts for 3 months or more.

Ongoing irritation of the prostate that is not caused by bacteria is called chronic nonbacterial prostatitis.

What are the alternative names for Bacterial Prostatitis?

Chronic prostatitis - bacterial; Acute prostatitis

What are the causes for Bacterial Prostatitis?

Any bacteria that can cause a urinary tract infection can cause acute bacterial prostatitis.

Infections spread through sexual contact can cause prostatitis. These include chlamydia and gonorrhea. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more likely to occur from:

  • Certain sexual practices, such as having anal sex without wearing a condom
  • Having many sexual partners

In men over age 35 years, E coli and other common bacteria most often cause prostatitis. This type of prostatitis may begin in the:

  • Epididymis, a small tube that sits on top of the testes.
  • Urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder and out through the penis.

Acute prostatitis may also be caused by problems with the urethra or prostate, such as:

  • Blockage that reduces or prevent the flow of urine out of the bladder
  • Foreskin of the penis that cannot be pulled back (phimosis)
  • Injury to the area between the scrotum and anus (perineum)
  • Urinary catheter, cystoscopy, or prostate biopsy (removing a piece of tissue to look for cancer)

Men age 50 years 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.

What are the symptoms for Bacterial Prostatitis?

Symptoms can start quickly, and can include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Lower stomach tenderness
  • Body aches

Symptoms of chronic prostatitis are similar, but not as severe. They often begin more slowly. Some people have no symptoms between episodes of prostatitis.

Urinary symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Burning or pain with urination
  • Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying the bladder
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Weak urine stream

Other symptoms that may occur with this condition:

  • Pain or aching 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.

What are the current treatments for Bacterial Prostatitis?

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 through your penis (indwelling catheter).

To care for prostatitis at home:

  • Urinate often and completely.
  • Take warm baths to relieve pain.
  • Take stool softeners to make bowel movements more comfortable.
  • Avoid substances that irritate your bladder, such as alcohol, caffeinated foods and drinks, citrus juices, and hot or spicy foods.
  • Drink more fluid (64 to 128 ounces or 2 to 4 liters per day) to urinate often and help flush bacteria out of your bladder.

Get checked by your provider after you finish taking your antibiotic treatment to make sure the infection is gone.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Bacterial Prostatitis?

Acute prostatitis should go away with medicine and minor changes to your diet and behavior.

It may come back or turn into chronic prostatitis.

What are the possible complications for Bacterial Prostatitis?

Complications may include:

  • Abscess
  • Inability to urinate (urinary retention)
  • Spread of bacteria from the prostate to the bloodstream (sepsis)
  • Chronic pain or discomfort
  • Inability to have sex (sexual dysfunction)

When should I contact a medical professional for Bacterial Prostatitis?

Call your provider if you have symptoms of prostatitis.

How do I prevent Bacterial Prostatitis?

Not all types of prostatitis can be prevented. Practice safe sex behaviors.



Nickel JC. Inflammatory and pain conditions of the male genitourinary tract: prostatitis and related pain conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 13.

Nicolle LE. Urinary tract infection. In: Lerma EV, Sparks MA, Topf JM, eds. Nephrology Secrets. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 46.

McGowan CC. Prostatitis, epididymitis, and orchitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 110.

US Department of Health and Human Services; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prostatitis: inflammation of the prostate. Updated July 2014. Accessed August 7, 2019.

Top Global Doctors For Bacterial Prostatitis

Latest Advances On Bacterial Prostatitis

  • Condition: HSV-Associated Proctitis presenting without Perianal Lesions
  • Journal: BMJ case reports
  • Treatment Used: Valaciclovir
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient with HSV-associated proctitis that presented without perianal lesions.
  • Condition: Chronic Non-Bacterial Prostatitis
  • Journal: PloS one
  • Treatment Used: Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
The study researched the outcomes of extracorporeal shockwave therapy for chronic non-bacterial prostatitis.

Clinical Trials For Bacterial Prostatitis