Sexual Health Q&A

What is acute bacterial prostatitis? What are its symptoms?

Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. Sometimes, surrounding tissue becomes swollen and inflamed as well.

There are several different types of prostatitis. Acute bacterial prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection and happens quickly. (In contrast, chronic bacterial prostatitis is ongoing, by definition lasting over three months). Acute bacterial prostatitis can be severe.

Bacteria can reach the prostate by traveling up the urethra – the tube that allows urine and semen to leave the body. The bacteria could come from a sexually-transmitted infection or a urinary tract infection. Sometimes, the bacteria are introduced after an injury to the genitals.

Common symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis include the following:

Pain. A man may feel pain in the abdomen, lower back, or genitals. There may also be pain when he ejaculates, urinates, or moves his bowels.

Chills or fever.

Nausea or vomiting.

Urinary problems. Urinary symptoms can take many forms, such as needing to urinate more frequently, more urgently, or more often during the night. Some men have trouble starting the urine stream, have a weak stream, or don’t feel like they have completely emptied the bladder. Some men are unable to urinate at all.

Men with these symptoms should see their healthcare provider. Symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis are similar to those of other conditions, so it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis.