Prostatitis is swelling of the prostate gland. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men that surrounds the urethra. It produces a fluid that is part of semen.
Anatomy of the Prostate Gland
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
There are 4 types of prostatitis:
  • Acute bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic pelvic pain syndrome
  • Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis


Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis are caused by an infection. A bacteria enters the prostate—usually from the urinary tract or rectum.The causes of chronic pelvic pain syndrome and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis are not clearly understood. In some people, it is possible that a cause may not be found.

Risk Factors

Prostatitis is most common in men who use catheters. Other factors that may increase your risk of prostatitis include:
  • Unprotected sex
  • Phimosis—inability of the foreskin to fully retract over the head of the penis
  • Narrowing of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body
  • Enlarged prostate
  • History of urinary tract infections


Symptoms depend on the category of prostatitis syndrome. In many people, symptoms may not appear. In others, they may appear as another condition.Symptoms may include:
  • Needing to urinate frequently and/or urgently
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Lower abdominal pain or pressure
  • Penile, rectal, or perineal discomfort
  • Lower back pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Difficulty getting an erection


You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A digital rectal exam may be done as part of the physical exam. Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:

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