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Prostate Infection (Prostatitis)

Inflammation or infection of the prostate is termed prostatitis.  It can present as an acute infection with infected urine and fever or with chronic low grade symptoms.  Chronic prostatitis is often not caused by a bacterial infection and may require multiple treatments to control your symptoms.

Prostatitis symptoms vary depending on the cause. They may include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating (dysuria)
  • Difficulty urinating, such as dribbling or hesitant urination
  • Frequent urination, particularly at night (nocturia)
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Pain in the abdomen, groin or lower back
  • Pain in the area between the scrotum and rectum (perineum)
  • Pain or discomfort of the penis or testicles
  • Painful orgasms (ejaculations)
  • Flu-like symptoms (with bacterial prostatitis)

Prostatitis treatments vary depending on the underlying cause. They can include:

  • Antibiotics. This is the most commonly prescribed treatment for prostatitis. Your doctor will base the choice of medication on the type of bacteria that may be causing your infection. If you have severe symptoms, you may need intravenous (IV) antibiotics. You'll likely need to take oral antibiotics for four to six weeks, but may need longer treatment for chronic or recurring prostatitis. Take all of the prescribed drugs as directed even if you're feeling better. Otherwise, treatment may not work. Your doctor may have you try one or more antibiotics even if the cause of your prostatitis can't be identified. If antibiotics don't help, your prostatitis is most likely caused by something other than a bacterial infection.
  • Alpha blockers. These medications help relax the bladder neck and the muscle fibers where your prostate joins your bladder. These medications are sometimes used in conjunction with antibiotics or in chronic cases of prostatitis which have not responded to antibiotics.  This treatment may lessen symptoms, such as painful urination. Examples include tamsulosin (Flomax), terazosin (Hytrin), alfuzosin (Uroxatral) and doxazosin (Cardura). Common side effects include headaches and a decrease in blood pressure.
  • Pain relievers. Pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) may make you more comfortable. You should discuss with your doctor what doses you can safely take. Overusing these medications can cause problems.