Prostatitis is when your prostate gland becomes infected, painful, or irritated. More than 2 million men see their doctors each year because of prostatitis.
Prostatitis can be caused by bacteria, but often it is hard to tell what causes the pain and other symptoms. If you have any pain in your prostate area, or while urinating or ejaculating, you should go to a doctor, because untreated prostatitis can make it difficult or impossible for a man to father children.
Prostatitis can appear suddenly (acute prostatitis) or it can lie dormant for months or even years without causing symptoms (chronic prostatitis).
If prostatitis comes on suddenly because of a bacterial infection, symptoms are usually severe. You may need to go to the emergency room. Symptoms can include:
- Severe burning during urination
- Inability to empty the bladder
When prostatitis is chronic, the symptoms are similar but do not produce fever. In addition to a burning feeling during urination, you may feel:
- Pain in your lower back
- Aching or dull pain in your testicles, penis, or bladder region
- Painful ejaculation
Symptoms of chronic prostatitis can come and go, which makes diagnosis more difficult.
If prostatitis is acute, or if your doctor suspects that your symptoms are caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic medicine. You will need to take the medicine for at least two weeks, and possibly for as long as four to 12 weeks. It is very important that you continue to take the antibiotics as directed by your doctor, even if your symptoms go away!
Bacteria in the prostate can be difficult to kill. If even a few remain alive, they can grow and your symptoms can return.
Other types of medications may be used to ease pain or discomfort. Medicines called alpha blockers relax muscles in the bladder and prostate and can make urination easier. Drugs to reduce swelling may also be prescribed. Some other things that may help include:
- Taking warm baths
- Avoiding spicy foods
- Avoiding drinks that are acidic or that contain caffeine (such as coffee, tea, and cola soft drinks)
- Avoid bicycle riding, horseback riding or other activities that might put pressure on the prostate