Prostatitis and Epididymitis: What You Should Know

The man’s body, particularly the prostate gland and testes, can face all kinds of problems. 

This includes an enlarged prostate, the occasional urinary tract infection, or a recurrent urinary tract infection. But, prostatitis and epididymitis are known to impact a major portion of the population. 

Although they are entirely different conditions, there are similarities between the two that men should be wary of. 

Here, you can take a closer look at both epididymitis and prostatitis from a medical perspective.

What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is a swelling (inflammation) of the prostate gland. Prostatitis syndrome is a typical urinary tract syndrome. It accounts for roughly 25% of all doctor visits booked at a urologist around the globe. 

Prostatitis is the 3rd most recorded urinary tract ailment in men after benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. A 2017 review classified this syndrome based on its pathogenesis, etiology, and other factors. That includes:

  • Acute bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic pelvic pain syndrome/chronic prostatitis
  • Asymptomatic prostatitis

Patients with asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis don’t develop any noticeable symptoms. A healthcare expert can diagnose infectious prostatitis when testing for reproductive tract disorders or urinary tract disorders. 

On that note, there are other prostatitis types, like viral, fungal, and gonococcal prostatitis. What’s triggering the urinary symptoms will depend on the type of the condition. With chronic prostatitis, the exact trigger remains unknown.

Some experts speculate that chronic prostatitis, like chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, results from a microorganism rather than a bacterial infection. But, there are other factors as well, like parasites, bicycle riding, irritation, etc. 

This prostatitis type might relate to nerve damage in the pelvic floor, including chemicals in the urine, or a response of the immune system to the previous urinary tract infection. A bacterial infection triggers chronic and acute bacterial prostatitis.

Acute bacterial prostatitis occurs suddenly and lasts for a limited period. With this type of chronic prostatitis, the problem forms gradually and persists for an extended time. The bacterial infection might have traveled from the urethra. It reached the prostate, resulting in bacterial prostatitis. 

It’s not uncommon for chronic infectious prostatitis to cause chills and fever. But, the severity of prostatitis symptoms tends to vary from person to person. Whether you are dealing with acute prostatitis or chronic prostatitis of this kind, it’s best to consult a specialist. 

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What is epididymitis?

Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis (the coiled tube) responsible for carrying and storing sperm from the testicles. Epididymitis is a typical ailment often caused by a bacterial infection. In most patients, this ailment happens due to:

Neisseria gonorrhea and Chlamydia trachomatis account for roughly 50% of cases linked with gonorrhea and chlamydia in men younger than 39 years. 

In patients that have yet to sexually mature, inflammation from trauma can cause epididymitis, like doing repetitive activities in sports that result in injury. Other possible factors include viral infections, chemical, or drug-induced infections.

This ailment can be long-term (chronic) or sudden (acute). Acute epididymitis is known to appear relatively fast and prompt aches and redness. Treatment can help dissipate these symptoms. Chronic or long-term cases tend to cause dull aches.

They need time to develop and can persist. These symptoms can subside. However, treatment might not be capable of entirely getting rid of them. As a result, these chronic symptoms come and go. 

Can prostatitis cause epididymitis? 

Complications from chronic prostatitis or acute prostatitis can result in bacteremia. This is the presence of viable bacteria in the circulating blood. This includes epididymitis, prostatic abscess, and an infection that has spread to the lower area of the spine or upper section of the pelvic bone. 

The main connection between prostatitis and epididymitis is in the prostatitis complications. If acute or chronic prostatitis were to be left unmanaged and causes complications, it could lead to inflammation of this particular coiled tube.

E Coli or other gram-negative Enterobacteriaceae tend to trigger chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP). This prostatitis type often impacts 36 to 50 years old men. After an episode of acute bacterial prostatitis, roughly 5% of those affected might experience progress to CBP. 

With epididymitis, the causes come down to STDs, trauma, urine in the epididymitis, and other infections. Prostate infection or bacteria impacting the urinary tract could spread from its initial spot and get to the epididymis. Other viral infections could also lead to this kind of problem.

Research shows that the spread of urethral pathogens could be the mechanism of infection of the epididymis and prostate. Sexually transmitted organisms are the primary trigger for epididymitis. Even if some reports indicate that the same organisms can also lead to prostatitis, more research is necessary to evaluate both of these conditions. 

What are the similarities between prostatitis and epididymitis?

The similarities are in the symptoms. With both epididymitis and prostatitis, men can feel pain when urinating, accompanied by the frequent or urgent need to urinate. Other shared symptoms include pelvic pain, testicular pain, and discomfort. 

With acute bacterial prostatitis, people can develop flu-like symptoms like muscle pain, chills, and fever. Although less common, epididymitis can also trigger fever-like symptoms. When the epididymitis symptoms last well over six weeks and are recurring, then this is chronic epididymitis.

Chronic epididymitis symptoms could appear over time. But, in some cases, the triggers of chronic epididymitis remain unknown. Whereas with acute epididymitis, the symptoms that lead to epididymis inflammation, swelling, and pain last less than six weeks. 

As you can see, both ailments have acute and chronic symptoms. Their impact will vary based on what’s causing the problem. Epididymitis from bacteria requires antibiotic treatment. Men tend to feel an improvement in 48 hours to 72 hours after starting their antibiotic therapy.

Adequate rest, ice pack treatment, and pain medicine can be used as at-home treatments to curb some discomfort. Acute prostatitis (where symptoms are severe and emerge out of the blue) also requires antibiotic use and painkillers. 

The infectious disease should be adequately managed to decrease its symptoms, reduce its impact, and improve sexual health. Only a doctor can prescribe the necessary treatment to take care of the debilitating symptoms.

Another similarity is trauma. Men who’ve suffered serious nerve damage from trauma, mainly in the lower urinary tract, could be susceptible to developing chronic prostatitis. An injury to the groin can cause epididymitis.


What are the differences between prostatitis and epididymitis?

Wondering how to tell the difference between epididymitis and prostatitis? Prostatitis is an ailment of the prostate gland, whereas epididymitis is an inflamed coiled tube (epididymis). To get a proper epididymitis diagnosis, the doctor can suggest an ultrasound, blood and urine test, and STI screening. 

In prostatitis, you may need to do a blood and urine test. But, you will also need a digital rectal exam and a prostate specimen test. A prostatic secretion is used to test for signs of bacterial infection or inflammation. Experts will use a prostatic massage to extract these secretions for adequate treatment and diagnosis.

Will my ability to father children with prostatitis or epididymitis be reduced?

Countless factors can lead to infertility. There is a close link between epididymitis and problems with fathering a child. 

Roughly a third of men with epididymitis have anti-sperm antibodies that could lead then to infertility. And chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP) that maintains a condition of lower UTI could cause infertility in men. CBP can also harm total sperm motility and sperm vitality. 

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How long do acute epididymitis and prostatitis last?

Acute epididymitis can last six weeks or less. With acute prostatitis, you can expect it to last a couple of days to a few weeks, and it tends to respond pretty well to treatment. However, if the symptoms were to persist for three months or over, then this would be considered a chronic ailment.

What is the fastest way to get rid of epididymitis and prostatitis?

Antibiotic treatment may be the most viable choice. But, the doctor may also suggest rest, pain meds, applying ice packs, or taking laxatives if releasing feces becomes a real challenge.

Just make sure to consult with a specialist as soon as you spot any aches, discomfort, swelling, or other uncomfortable symptoms.

What should you not do with prostatitis or epididymitis?

Make sure not to leave any STIs untreated. Treating STIs is a top priority since they can cause epididymitis. With prostatitis, try to avoid acidic and very spicy foods, too much caffeine, and alcohol. All of them can irritate the bladder. 

Ideally, you should drink plenty of water to flush out the bacterium from the system. Unsweetened tea can also come in handy.


Epididymitis and prostatitis are known to cause havoc in the male’s reproductive system. Both ailments cause a range of symptoms, all of which then can affect a person’s sex life. Mainly because of the discomfort, pain, and swelling. 

To keep these conditions from causing all sorts of problems and complications, it’s critical that you get proper medical treatment. Talk to a doctor about any of the symptoms you might be having. That way, they can then figure out which treatment method will work for you. 

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  1. Khan FU, Ihsan AU, Khan HU, Jana R, Wazir J, Khongorzul P, Waqar M, Zhou X. Comprehensive overview of prostatitis. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017.
  2. Rupp TJ, Leslie SW. Epididymitis. [Updated 2022 Feb 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  3. Ireton RC, Berger RE. Prostatitis and epididymitis. Urol Clin North Am. 1984.
  4. Shang Y, Liu C, Cui D, Han G, Yi S. The effect of chronic bacterial prostatitis on semen quality in adult men: a meta-analysis of case-control studies. Sci Rep. 2014.

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