Acute Prostatitis

acute prostatitis

Prostatitis means that you have inflammation of your prostate gland. Prostatitis can be acute (sudden-onset) or chronic (persistent). It can also be infective (caused by infection) or non-infective.

Acute prostatitis is a type of infective prostatitis. It is caused by a bacterial infection of the prostate gland. Chronic prostatitis is sometimes called chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

What is the prostate gland?

Only men have a prostate gland. It lies just beneath the bladder. The urethra (the tube that urine travels along from the bladder to the outside) runs through the middle of the prostate and then through the penis. The prostate helps to make semen in part and nourish the spermatozoa.

What causes acute prostatitis?

Infection by bacteria that normally live in your bowel.Some of these bacteria may then travel up the urethra and cause infection anywhere in the urinary tract that is, the kidneys, bladder, prostate, or urethra.

Urine infection with cystitis (bladder infection) is the common 'urinary tract infection'. Some conditions that cause pooling or blockage of urine increase the risk of a 'urinary tract infection'. For example, having an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, etc.

Less common causes

  • Prostate surgery or trauma to the prostate causing injury.
  • A catheter passed into the bladder through the urethra may sometimes let bacteria travel to the prostate.
  • Sometimes the prostate is infected by bacteria in the bloodstream that have travelled from other infections in the body.

Acute prostatitis is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, so a sexual partner is not at risk.

What are the symptoms of acute prostatitis?
  • Pain from your prostate, which may be severe. You feel this mainly at the base of your penis, around your anus, just above your pubic bone and/or in your lower back.
  • Symptoms of a urine infection. For example: pain when you pass urine, passing urine frequently, an urgent desire to pass urine, and sometimes blood in your urine or urinary retention.
  • Fever .
  • A slight discharge (thick fluid) may come out of your penis from your urethra.
  • Your prostate feels tender if a doctor examines it with a gloved finger in your rectum.
Do I need any tests?
  • A urine test will usually detect bacteria if you have acute prostatitis.
  • Other tests such as X-rays or scans may be advised following acute prostatitis.
What is the treatment for acute prostatitis?
  1. Antibiotics. A four-week course is needed.
  2. Paracetamol or ibuprofen ease pain and fever (high temperature).
  3. Laxatives can keep your stools (faeces) soft, if needed.
What is the outlook?

Acute prostatitis usually clears with a course of antibiotics. However, it is important to take the full course to clear the infection completely. There is a risk that an acute infection may become a chronic (persistent) infection if you do not take the full course of antibiotics.

Acute (sudden) urinary retention. Because it may be so painful to pass urine, urine can build up in your bladder, causing pain in your lower abdomen and inability to pass urine at all. To relieve this, a catheter is needed.

Prostate abscess. If the antibiotics do not effectively treat the prostate infection, rarely you can develop an abscess of your prostate gland. Your doctor may suspect this if your symptoms do not improve despite antibiotic treatment.

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