Symptoms of Prostatitis

Urination Problems and Pain Signal an Inflamed Prostate Gland

Prostatitis is a condition that affects the prostate gland and can cause lower urinary tract symptoms and pelvic pain in males. It is the third most common urinary tract condition in males over age 50 and the most common one in males under 50.

There are four different kinds of prostatitis, each with different causes. Learn about the common symptoms of prostatitis, and when you should talk to a doctor. If left untreated, prostatitis can lead to serious complications.

Doctor reviewing medical chart with older man
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Frequent Symptoms

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located under the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is the tube through which urine and semen leave the body during urination and ejaculation. Prostatitis can be caused by inflammation, infection, or both.

Three of the four types of prostatitis cause symptoms. The fourth, asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, is often found during a visit for another health concern.

Common symptoms across most types of prostatitis include:

  • Painful urination: Discomfort during or after emptying your bladder
  • Painful ejaculation: Discomfort during the release of semen
  • Urinary urgency: The feeling that you need to empty your bladder immediately
  • Urinary frequency: The feeling that you need to pee often
  • Nocturia: Having to wake up often to urinate

Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis (Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome)

This type of prostatitis is the most common and is caused by inflammation that can irritate nerves in the area of the prostate. It is sometimes called chronic pelvic pain syndrome, or CPPS.

In addition to common prostatitis symptoms, people who have CPPS may also experience:

  • A weak or interrupted urine stream
  • Pain in the penis, lower abdomen (bladder or suprapubic region), lower back, or perineum (the region between the scrotum and the anus)

Symptoms of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

Prostatitis can be caused by a bacterial infection, often Klebsiella or Escherichia bacteria from the colon. Bacterial infections should be treated promptly to avoid serious complications.

In addition to the common urinary symptoms, signs of bacterial prostatitis include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Malaise (feeling generally ill)
  • Fatigue

Your doctor may find your prostate is swollen and tender upon exam.

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

This type of prostatitis develops more slowly than acute bacterial prostatitis, and can sometimes last for months. Symptoms are less severe than with an acute infection and may come and go. But if a prostate infection lingers (becomes chronic), then urinary tract infections (UTIs) can occur. UTIs are generally uncommon in males, and recurrent urinary tract infections in a male should prompt an evaluation for chronic prostatitis or other causes.

In addition to common urinary symptoms such as frequency or urgency, other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Blood in the semen

Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis

This fourth type of prostatitis is commonly found during a medical examination for another condition. It does not cause symptoms, and does not require treatment.

Prostatitis vs. Prostate Cancer

The symptoms of prostatitis are similar to those of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) and may occur in males with a history of BPH, dehydration, or bladder emptying problems. It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience urinary symptoms or changes.

Complications

If left untreated, prostatitis can cause serious complications, including:

Urinary retention: Sometimes, excessive swelling of the prostate can compress the urethra and prevent the release of urine. Urinary retention is a medical emergency. Contact your doctor right away if you are unable to pass urine.

Urosepsis: If you are unable to empty your bladder, urine can back up into the kidneys and cause advanced urinary tract or kidney infections. If bacteria enter the bloodstream and spread through the body, this is called urosepsis. It can cause dizziness, slurred speech, extreme changes in body temperature (hot or cold), a rapid heartbeat, and/or trouble breathing.

Epididymitis and orchitis: Epydidymitis occurs when bacteria enter the epididymis (the region adjacent to the testis that stores and carries sperm from the testicles toward the vas deferens). Orchitis is inflammation or an infection of the testicles. These illnesses are characterized by pain and swelling in the testicles (one or both) and the scrotum. If left unchecked, these conditions can impact fertility.

When to See a Doctor

You should see your doctor when you have symptoms of prostatitis. Sometimes these symptoms can signal other more serious conditions, including prostate cancer. Getting treatment for prostatitis can help prevent complications, including sexual dysfunction and infertility.

You should immediately seek medical help if you are completely unable to urinate, have problems or pain while urinating, have a fever and/or chills, see blood in your urine, or have a lot of pain and discomfort in your urinary tract or lower abdomen.

A Word From Verywell

Prostatitis is a common, yet bothersome condition that can impact men of all ages. Because it can cause complications, it is important to talk with your medical provider to be properly diagnosed and effectively treated.

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Article Sources
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  5. Cleveland Clinic. Urinary retention. Reviewed January 10, 2021.

  6. Urology Care Foundation. What are epididymitis and orchitis?

  7. Jiang J, Li J, Yunxia Z, Zhu H, Liu J, Pumill C. The role of prostatitis in prostate cancer: meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(12):e85179. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085179

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