Prostatitis: Symptoms and Causes | Tampa General Hospital


Prostatitis can affect men of any age and can cause pain and inflammation in the prostate.  

Prostatitis is a group of conditions that can cause the prostate to become inflamed, painful and infected. Some occurrences can be asymptomatic while others can be extremely painful and require immediate medical attention.  

The different types of prostatitis are: 

  • Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis 
  • Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) 
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis 
  • Acute (sudden) bacterial prostatitis 

Approximately 50% of men will experience symptoms of prostatitis at some point in their lives, as it’s the most common urinary tract issue for men under the age of 50.  

Causes of Prostatitis 

There are different causes for the different types of prostatitis. The causes of the most common form of this condition—CPPS—aren’t clear, but contributing factors appear to be: 

  • Stress 
  • disease 
  • Pelvic floor muscle spasms 

Potential causes of bacterial prostatitis include: 

  • A surgical procedure that requires catheterization 
  • Urinary tract infections 
  • Prostate stones 
  • Bladder infections 
  • Failure to empty the bladder during urination 

Symptoms of Prostatitis 

Men who have asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis don’t experience any noticeable changes. For cases of CPPS or bacterial prostatitis, symptoms can include: 

  • A frequent urge to urinate 
  • Pain in the penis, the testicles or the area between the testicles and the rectum 
  • Weak urine flow 
  • Traces of blood in semen 
  • Painful ejaculation 
  • Erectile dysfunction 

Diagnosis of Prostatitis

The diagnostic process for prostatitis will usually involve a review of the patient’s medical history and a physical exam. If prostatitis is suspected, one of the following tests may be performed: 

  • A digital rectal exam to check the prostate gland for swelling 
  • A urinalysis to check for bacteria or infection 
  • Blood tests to measure the level of a protein produced by the prostate 
  • A cystoscopy to look for other urinary tract problems that may be causing the symptoms 
  • A transrectal ultrasound to check for prostate gland abnormalities 

Treatments of Prostatitis 

Treating CPPS involves the management of several different symptoms. A proper treatment plan may include:  

  • Medications to improve urine flow 
  • Stress management through counseling or medications 
  • Supplements to relieve prostate gland swelling 
  • Antibiotics to treat infection 
  • Medications to relieve nerve pain 
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy to relieve muscle spasms 

Bacterial prostatitis can be treated through a regimen of antibiotics that may need to be continued for up to three months.   

Tampa General Hospital treats many different male-specific urological conditions, including prostatitis. Our comprehensive, multispecialty approach helps us produce better-than-expected patient outcomes.