Bacterial Prostatitis

What is bacterial prostatitis?

Bacterial prostatitis is a condition in which a bacterial infection develops in the prostate gland. The prostate is a gland that sits under the bladder, and forms the first part of the urethra (the tube that carries urine away from the bladder). Older men with an enlarged prostate are commonly affected by bacterial prostatitis. Typical symptoms are fever, chills, burning sensation while urinating, difficulty to start urination, and pain around the anus. Treatment includes antibiotics, pain killers and, sometimes, a urinary catheter if emptying the bladder becomes difficult. With antibiotic treatment, many people recover well.

Risks

The prostate is a gland that sits under the bladder, and forms the first part of the urethra (the tube that carries urine away from the bladder). Bacterial infections can form in the prostate due to bladder infections or some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Older men who already have an enlarged prostate gland are most commonly affected but men of every age can get bacterial prostatitis. Men who have diabetes, a weak immune system, an indwelling urinary catheter, or who self-catheterize (use a tube to empty the bladder of urine) are at higher risk of developing bacterial prostatitis.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of bacterial prostatitis are fever, chills, a burning sensation while urinating, difficulty to start urination, and pain around the anus. Other symptoms are foul-smelling urine, weak urine flow, painful ejaculation and blood in the urine.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made based on the symptoms, examination of the prostate, and urine tests. Examination of the prostate involves a doctor gently putting a finger into the anus and feeling the prostate through the rectum (from behind the prostate). This can be a little painful for people with prostatitis. The urine is tested for bacteria, and this is sometimes requires prostatic massage, a procedure in which a doctor massages the prostate before the urine sample is made.

Treatment

Bacterial prostatitis is treated with antibiotics. These are usually taken for 2-4 weeks. If the infection becomes persistent, longer courses of antibiotics or antibiotics through a drip (intravenous) may be needed. Pain can be managed with simple pain-relieving medication (paracetamol or ibuprofen). A urinary catheter (a tube) might be needed in case urination is difficult and very painful.

Prevention

Diagnosing and effectively treating bladder infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) may help prevent some episodes of bacterial prostatitis.

Other names for bacterial prostatitis

  • Bacterial infection of the prostate gland
  • Bacterial prostatitis
  • Acute bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis