Prostate Infection

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. This gland’s job is to produce semen, the fluid that carries sperm. When your prostate becomes inflamed, swollen, and tender, you have a prostate infection, which is also known as prostatitis. It’s important to know that prostatitis is not a prostate cancer causes, but that many prostatitis and prostate cancer symptoms can be similar. It’s important to discuss with your doctor all your concerns so a correct diagnosis can be made.

Prostate infections are classified into 4 distinct categories, each with its own set of causes and symptoms.

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

Acute bacterial prostatitis is caused by, as its name suggests, bacteria that enters the prostate. Sometimes bacteria from the urinary tract, kidneys, bladder, or the surrounding connecting tubes can make its way into the prostate and cause an infection. Acute bacterial prostatitis comes on suddenly and is recognized by the following symptoms:

  • Sudden high fever, possibly accompanied by chills
  • Unexplained muscle aches and joint pains
  • Pain in the areas around the base of the penis and/or behind the scrotum
  • Unexplained pain in the lower back
  • Persistent feeling of needing to have a bowel movement
  • Problems peeing or a weak urine stream

Acute bacterial prostatitis is serious, and you should seek medical treatment if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is a mild bacterial infection that can linger for many months. It is most common in older men and can be the result of a urinary tract infection or a case of acute bacterial prostatitis. Chronic bacterial prostatitis is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Regular, urgent need to urinate, quite often in the middle of the night
  • Pain while urinating
  • Inability to urinate
  • Pain during ejaculation or blood in your semen
  • Unexplained lower back or rectal pain
  • A “heavy” feeling behind your scrotum

To make things especially tricky, these symptoms may come and go over a period of time, making them easy to miss and therefore difficult to diagnose.

Chronic Prostatitis (CP)/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS)

This condition is the most common form of prostatitis. It shares many of the same symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis, but when tests are run, no bacteria appear. The causes of CP/CPPS are unknown, but stress, nerve damage, and physical injuries are thought to play a role, as well as immune disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome.

In addition to experiencing the symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis, patients with CP/CPPS also experience pain in the following areas that has been present for more than 3 months:

    • Tip of the penis
    • Scrotum
    • The area between the scrotum and the rectum
  • The lower abdomen and the lower back

Patients with CP/CPPS also often experience pain while urinating and ejaculating as well as frequent and weak urination.

Asymptomatic Prostatitis

Men with this type of prostatitis have no symptoms, but still present with an inflamed prostate. This condition is diagnosed by a blood test, usually as part of regular prostate health checks. Asymptomatic prostatitis is not generally treated, but is often associated with increased rates of infertility.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of prostate problems, talk to the doctors at the Prostate Cancer Institute about the many treatment options available.