Bacterial Prostatitis: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

Prostatitis is a serious issue for males.

Due to its high prevalence rate of 2% to 9%, around 25% of men are visiting the urologist for prostatitis symptoms. In fact, prostatitis is so common that it’s causing about 2 million doctor’s visits every year in the U.S.  

Patients can develop either nonbacterial or bacterial prostatitis. The nonbacterial condition is recognized for generating chronic pelvic pain. It is often referred to as chronic pelvic pain syndrome. While bacterial prostatitis is the result of a bacteria that’s infecting the prostate.

Without proper management, prostatitis can have a profound impact on a patient’s quality of life. Here we will take a closer look only at bacterial prostatitis. Particularly in relation to its types, signs, and treatment. 

Bacterial Prostatitis – Starting With The Basics

Bacterial prostatitis is the result of a bacteria that’s infecting the prostate. The bacteria may reach the prostate if the urine carrying the infection is flowing backward from the urethra. An ongoing prostate irritation resulting from bacteria is referred to as chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. 

Chronic prostatitis can persist for 3 months or for an extended time. While acute prostatitis has a relatively quick onset. But, bacterial prostatitis is not something that can be transmitted to a sexual partner. Instead, it remains inside the prostate fluid and urine. 

Recognizing the Bacterial Prostatitis Types

Prostatitis is a frequent health issue that inflames the prostate or the surrounding area. Experts identified two unique prostatitis types. These involve acute bacterial prostatitis and chronic bacterial prostatitis.

Even though prostatitis is the most frequent urologic condition in males under the age of 50 and the 3rd most widespread condition in men over the age of 50, acute prostatitis is rare. Compared to chronic prostatitis, acute prostatitis is much easier to identify.

It’s often linked to a urinary tract infection, bladder obstruction, or predisposing risk factors. Here is how the various bacterial prostatitis types affect the human body.

  • Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

Acute bacterial prostatitis affects 10% of all prostatitis cases. One of the most affected individuals is between 20 and 40, including people older than 70. This bacterial prostatitis occurs when the prostate gland suddenly becomes inflamed. 

This small organ in the shape of walnut is situated at the bladder’s base in male patients. The prostate gland is responsible for secreting prostatic fluid and nourishing the sperm. This prostatic secretion features around 70% of the total seminal volume. 

When a male ejaculates, their prostate gland starts to squeeze the fluid into their urethra. The prostatic ducts are the ones that open into the floor of a segment of the urethra. A bacterial infection often triggers the condition. The infection begins when bacteria inside the urine leaks towards the prostate, causing prostate irritation and infection. 

In other words, bacteria spread all over the prostate gland and trigger pelvic pain and urinary tract symptoms. 

  • Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

Chronic prostatitis is quite a common condition. It has a lifetime prevalence rate of 1.8%-8.2%. This prostatitis triggers recurrent urinary tract infection (UTIs), prostate infection, inflammation, and swelling. People can develop chronic pelvic pain or neuropathic pain. 

The prostatic pain can last a minimum of 3 months. Because of the consistent pain, affected individuals are often referred to a psychologist alongside phototherapy, physical therapy, and pain management tactics. 

What it does have in common with acute bacterial prostatitis is the trigger. This condition is caused by the exact same bacterial strain or bacterial infection found in acute bacterial cases.

Spotting the Symptoms 

Prostatitis signs depend on what’s causing the problem. They also vary based on the type of bacterial prostatitis you are dealing with. Overall, people can recognize the problem from the following general symptoms, such as:

Here is how to recognize each bacterial prostatitis type and their urinary symptom. 

Acute (Sudden) Prostatitis

This bacterial prostatitis needs urine testing to find any traces of bacteria. A patient who is affected by it will experience uncomfortable, painful, and sudden symptoms. The pain can become so severe that the individual may need to seek medical treatment right away. 

These signs involve:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Inability to drain the bladder properly

  • Nocturia (frequent urination)

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

To identify this bacterial prostatitis, people need to do a prostate fluid and urine culture. This will help find the bacteria that’s causing the problem. This condition can affect the patient for a while. But, after some period of time, the symptoms will subside and start all over again. 

These signs involve:

  • Painful ejaculation

  • Pain in the penis, testicles, bladder, between the anus and penis. 

  • Frequent need to urinate

Note: There is also asymptomatic prostatitis. The asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis doesn’t have any signs of infection, and it’s often a painless condition. With asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, it becomes difficult for people to know if they have inflammation. That’s why most asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis cases get diagnosed by accident. 

Acknowledging the Causes

Different types of bacteria can induce bacterial prostatitis. Bacteria can be spotted in the prostate fluid, urine, or blood. The organisms mainly responsible for the urinary infections are the same ones that are causing acute bacterial prostatitis. 

That includes gram-negative bacteria of the Enterobacteriaceae family. 

Typical bacteria triggers include: 

  • Enterobacter species

  • Escherichia coli

  • Klebsiella species

  • Proteus mirabilis

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Certain bacteria that cause STIs, for example, gonorrhea and chlamydia, may also result in acute bacterial prostatitis. However, one of the following conditions can also be the trigger for this bacterial prostatitis. 

These include:

  • Perineum injury (the spot between the rectum and scrotum)

  • Urethra inflammation

  • Epididymis inflammation (the tube responsible for linking the vas deferens with the testicles)

  • Phimosis (a condition that hinders a patient from pulling back the foreskin of their penis)

  • Cystoscopy

  • Bladder outlet obstruction

  • Prostate cancer

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia

The prostatic abscess can form because of a bacterial infection. The common symptoms of a prostatic abscess include urine retention, pain when urinating, and frequent urination. But, it is not uncommon for the condition to be caused by trauma or surgery to the affected area. 

For example, when a patient suffers nerve damage in the lower urinary tract, this can cause a bacterial infection and lead to prostatitis. Therefore, it can be difficult to find the exact reason that’s provoking the infection.

Figuring Out the Probable Risk Factors

The factors that increase a patient’s chances of developing bacterial prostatitis depend on the type of prostatitis they are struggling with. Each risk factor significantly increases their susceptibility. Here are the most common risk factors for both types of bacterial prostatitis. 

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

The majority of acute prostatitis cases are the result of intraprostatic reflux or an ascending urethral infection. Prostatitis can develop after a cystoscopy or catheterization. Sometimes, a lymphatic spread can cause acute prostatitis. But, other factors make people vulnerable to prostatitis.

Typical risk factors include:

  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy

  • History of STIs

  • Compromised immune system

  • Phimosis

  • Prostate manipulation (e.g., using a urinary catheter, Transrectal prostate biopsy, Transurethral surgery, and Urodynamic studies)

  • Risky sexual activities

  • Genitourinary infection (e.g., Epididymitis, lower Urinary Tract symptoms, Urethritis, and Orchitis)

  • Urethral stricture

Scientists decided to study the possible risk factors for this particular condition. They analyzed 923 medical records in 878 prostate patients. Research shows that acute prostatitis occurred in 2% of cases after prostate biopsy. Among the volunteers, 1% experienced bacteremia and 0.2% sepsis. This shows that prostate manipulation could be a potential risk factor. 

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

Chronic and acute infection are very similar. They can both cause the exact same obstructive pathologies, like bladder problems, pain, and discomfort. Also, chronic prostatitis risk factors include health problems that facilitate bacteria growth into the prostate and urethra. 

This makes people vulnerable to an infection in the urinary tract. But, chronic prostatitis does stand out. According to experts, if a patient is susceptible to bladder cancer and hematuria, then they need to do urine cytology.

Based on research, bladder cancer is one of the most typical risk factors for chronic prostatitis. Take smoking, for example. About 1% of people, who’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer due to their bad smoking habits, have also been referred to a urologist for chronic prostatitis.  

Data indicates that individuals with a positive family history of prostate cancer should perform regular PSA testing. Otherwise, they are at risk of developing chronic prostatitis without knowing it. Any condition that allows retrograde bacteria movement puts people at risk of bacterial prostatitis. 


If bacterial prostatitis is left untreated, the infection can cause numerous complications. People can have:

  • Trouble urinating

  • Sepsis (this can happen when bacteria affects the bloodstream)

  • A prostatic abscess (this is pus collection that results in swelling and inflammation)

  • Infertility

  • Semen abnormality

That’s why getting adequate treatment should be a top priority. That’s why getting adequate treatment should be a top priority. Individuals who respond to antibiotics experience a beneficial prognosis. Those who don’t may require a surgical procedure to get the condition under control.

However, leaving the abscess unmanaged has been linked to infertility. In other cases, the condition will only progress. If, for instance, an individual has acute prostatitis, it can become a chronic illness and result in persistent pain.   

The Possible Treatment Options

The treatment you get will vary based on the type of prostatitis you have. The ideal management strategy depends on how severe the infection’s risk factors and symptoms are, including whether the patient has resistance to local antibiotic therapy

Every patient responds differently to prostatitis treatment. So, if one option doesn’t work, the doctor will recommend that you try another. Each treatment opportunity will focus on various stressors that will ease the symptoms. Treatment for bacterial prostatitis relies on:


Most doctors prescribe antibiotic treatment for chronic pelvic pain syndromes, such as doxycyclinetrimethoprim-sulfamethoxazoleofloxacin, and norfloxacin. Antibiotics remove the bacteria and ensure the symptoms don’t return. 

If the symptoms persist, you will need additional antibiotic medication. The type you use will be based on your current health condition and bacteria that are affecting the system. 

In acute prostatitis patients, painkillers and a 2 to 4-week antibiotic course are the go-to treatment. Those who experience urine problems or feel very sick will need hospital treatment. Luckily, that’s not always the case. 

Less than 1 in 6 acute patients with a prostate infection will need hospitalization. The rest can manage their problem with outpatient antibiotic medication. For individuals with minimal toxicity, fosfomycin was also used.

In case of more severe prostatitis symptoms, you may have to take IV (intravenous) antibiotics. In most situations, taking oral antibiotics for 4-6 weeks seems to alleviate the chronic prostatitis discomfort and pain. Chronic prostatitis can also be treated with levofloxacinciprofloxacin, and trimethoprim-sulfa.

According to clinical reviews of antibiotic therapy, a couple of factors are hindering bacterial prostatitis treatment. The majority of antibiotics for bacterial prostatitis have poor penetration and antibiotic transport mechanisms to treat the prostate fluid and prostatic tissue. 

That’s why Fluoroquinolones are the preferred antibiotic therapy for bacterial prostatitis. A couple of which have been approved by the FDA, like Levaquin, for example. These prophylactic meds are recommended for individuals within 24 hours of prostate biopsy. 

For acute cases of bacterial prostatitis, doctors prefer parenteral antibiotics, either cephalosporin or penicillin. Sometimes, they can be combined with an aminoglycoside. Since this is a more rigorous bacterial prostatitis treatment, it is only used for very ill people and need a more effective antibiotic therapy. That’s why it’s crucial for anyone with chronic pelvic pain syndrome or bacterial prostatitis to consult with a doctor first. 


Drugs like tamsulosin (Stronazon, Diffundox, Pinexel, Flomaxtra, etc.) can help with urine problems and soothe the pain when peeing. Alpha-blockers are designed to relax the bladder base and muscles inside the prostate gland. 

They can help calm the pain that’s affecting the muscle fibers. If the treatment doesn’t help in 4 to 6 weeks, you might have to stop taking them. 

NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory agents) 

People use NSAIDs when they want to feel more comfortable. Pain medication like ibuprofen and aspirin can help. These drugs can provide some level of relief and ease the symptoms of pelvic pain. 

But, on their own, NSAIDs are not strong enough to treat the pain from the chronic pelvic syndrome. If a doctor suggests NSAIDs for chronic pelvic pain, they will combine it with other drugs, like alpha-blockers. This is the only way to address the actual debilitating pain in affected individuals with chronic pelvic pain.

Anticholinergic drugs 

Research indicates that anticholinergics are efficient in managing symptoms in men with chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Particularly when the patient is undergoing treatment for urinary storage. 

Options like oxybutynin and tolterodine can reduce urinary system contraction. But, they are not the best choice for individuals with an enlarged prostate. Like it is the case with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) patients. The medicine may trigger urinary retention. Also, more large-scale studies are necessary to evaluate their full impact on chronic pelvic pain. 

If the treatment suggested by your GP helped ease the symptoms, ask them for a referral to a urologist. It’s best to rely on experts when controlling prostatitis. The goal of prostatitis treatment is to get to the root of the problem. 

Coping With Prostatitis

People want to know how to deal with the condition in the most efficient way. Something that involves useful coping mechanisms. They either want to avoid the need to depend on medication or speed up the treatment process. Here are some practical methods that can also ease the symptoms of bacterial prostatitis. 

  • A warm bath or a heating pad – The heat will penetrate the prostate, decrease inflammation and swelling, and boost the natural rejuvenation process. However, soaking in cold water can have the exact opposite effect. 

  • Relaxing techniques – According to experts, finding different ways to relax can help with anxiety and stress, known for causing flare-ups. By relaxing, people learn how to feel more in control of their body and urinary system. Options like listening to music, meditation, and deep breathing are a great way to start. They help distract people and take their minds off the pain. While yoga can aid with urinary incontinence and may also improve urine flow. Even though relaxation doesn’t actually treat the pain, it helps make it more bearable.

  • Prostatic massage Massaging the prostate through the rectum is a great way to alleviate the discomfort. It is beneficial for the urinary system as well. If the prostate is extremely vulnerable or tender and causes pain and discomfort, the doctor will use a general anesthetic before they do the massage. 

  • Removing alcohol and caffeine – To manage chronic pelvic pain and improve the urinary system, experts are recommending that you eliminate the alcohol and caffeine intake. This can decrease the irritation of the prostate and bladder. It’s also a practical strategy for flushing out the bacteria more quickly. 

  • Diet change – Research shows that prostate cancer could be slowed down or prevented with anti-oxidant and low-fat meals. Particularly those packed with valuable nutrients like lycopene, mineral selenium, and Vitamin E. But, there is more. Supplying the body with nutrients, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies can protect the prostate. Foods that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids are a great way of preventing and decreasing inflammation. This can help get the urinary system back on track. So, feel free to include more salmon, berries, tomatoes, nuts, broccoli, and citrus in your diet. 

Alternative Therapies

Limited clinical reports show that certain alternative medicine could help curb the symptoms of this particular health issue. Such as:

  • Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese practice is mainly used for its pain-soothing properties. It can create a similar effect to ibuprofen, but without supplying the body with chemicals. One of its key features is the beneficial long-term effects and minimal side effects. Experts recommend this therapy since it can boost the quality of life and help with voiding. 

  • Biofeedback – With the use of monitoring equipment, people learn how to regain control. Biofeedback is used in patients who have trouble regulating their bodily functions. They also relax their muscles more than they should. This therapy sends signals to the body to help with muscle contraction. 

  • Supplements and herbal remedies – There are no herbs that are directly meant to treat the symptoms of prostatitis or urinary problems. But, there are plenty of herbal remedies that have potent anti-inflammatory properties. One of the most commonly used are ryegrass and saw palmetto extract. Saw palmetto has been the go-to choice for prostate problems for many years. Although research is limited, people who’ve tried the extract have noticed a reduction in prostatitis symptoms and a better working urinary system.  

Other Useful Tips

  • Prostatitis doesn’t always affect the prostate. Sometimes the condition will be infecting the nearby tissues. 

  • People with prostatitis are not necessarily susceptible to developing prostate cancer

  • Even if you start feeling better, you still need to continue the treatment. Unless the doctor advises you otherwise. 

  • You don’t have to stop having intercourse if you have prostatitis. However, it is a good idea to abstain if the condition is causing discomfort and pain. 

  • Getting an early diagnosis can help you take proper care of prostatitis. The diagnostic tests include urine, blood, and imaging tests. On rare occasions, the doctor may suggest you test the secretions from a prostatic massage.

  • You can still complete your daily activities with prostatitis. The condition will not get in the way of your normal life. But, it can cause discomfort and burning pain. That’s where antibiotics become a necessity. 


Treating bacterial prostatitis relies on multiple treatment opportunities. Sometimes, you will need to use a different medication. It’s also important that you implement practical lifestyle changes that can enhance the whole treatment process. Bacterial prostatitis can indeed be a little difficult to understand.

However, once you figure out the cause and recognize the signs, you will be able to take the correct approach and manage your condition. With the information listed here, you will learn all you need to know about this uncomfortable health issue. 

Next Up

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Find out about Prostate Healer: Our Natural Treatment for Prostatitis.


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