Prostate Disorders Prostatitis

Prostatitis is the medical term for an inflamed prostate. The condition is common: fifty percent of men experience prostatitis symptoms at some time in their lives. For some men, an inflamed prostate is a temporary condition, while others experience chronic prostatitis symptoms.

Who’s at Risk?

Unlike most prostate problems, prostatitis is common in younger men. The condition most often occurs between the ages of 25 to 45. Bladder or urinary tract infections, and the regular use of urinary catheters increase the risk. Other risk factors include:

  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • unprotected anal sex
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • frequent jogging or cycling
  • perineal injury
  • exposure to strong vibrations (operating heavy machinery).

Types of Prostatitis

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis (ABP): caused by a bacterial urinary tract infection.

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis (CBP): caused by recurrent bacterial infections. CBP is the least common form of the condition.

Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS): accounts for ninety percent of prostatitis cases. A specific cause of CPPS is unknown, but infection does not seem to play a role. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome is likely multiple disorders that display the same symptoms.

Acute and Chronic Prostatitis Symptoms

The symptoms of an inflamed prostate can include:

  • pelvic pain
  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • difficulty urinating
  • pain during urination
  • a frequent need to urinate; only passing small amounts of urine
  • lowered libido
  • painful ejaculation
  • impotence
  • fever or chills, in the case of ABP or CBP.

Treatment Options

ABP and CBP are generally treated with antibiotics to treat the underlying bladder or urinary tract infection. Antibiotic treatment may range from a few weeks to several months. Treatment of CPPS may also start with antibiotics, to take care of any possible hidden infections.

Effective treatments for CPPS are hard to find, as the root cause of the syndrome is unknown. Your physician may prescribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce inflammation and control pain. Alpha blockers relax the bladder and ease urination difficulties, and sitz baths may also provide temporary relief from chronic prostatitis symptoms.

Prostate Massage and Other Options

A number of potential CPPS treatments are undergoing clinical trials, including the use of pollen extract, acupuncture, and a variety of medications. Repetitive prostate massage is also under investigation. Advocates of repetitive prostate massage claim that repeated massage “flushes out” bacteria from the prostate. Opponents claim that, while massage is used to flush out bacteria for diagnostic purposes, the technique’s efficacy in treating CPPS is unproven.


American Family Physician. (2000). Treatment of prostatitis. Retrieved January 21, 2003, from l?term=prostatitis.

Department of Urology, Queen’s University. (1999). Prostatitis unplugged? Prostatic massage revisited. Retrieved January 21, 2003, from