Bacterial Prostatitis

The prostate gland is part of the reproductive system for people who are assigned male at birth. The gland sits just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra. This is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. Bacterial prostatitis is an infection of the prostate. It makes the prostate painful and swollen. The problem often occurs suddenly. It can make you very sick. But it can be treated.

Cross section of prostate gland.
With a healthy prostate, urine flows easily through the urethra.
Cross section of prostate gland showing inflammation.
With a swollen prostate, the urethra narrows. It’s harder for urine to go through.

Causes and symptoms

Bacterial prostatitis is caused by infection with germs (bacteria). This infection makes the prostate swell. This squeezes the urethra, narrowing or blocking it. Symptoms may be severe. They can include:

  • Fever and chills

  • Low back pain

  • Having to pee often

  • Pain when peeing

  • A less forceful pee stream

  • Needing to strain to pee

  • Inability to pee

Treatment

The infection is treated with antibiotics. Take all of the medicine until it's gone, even if you start to feel better. If you don’t, the infection may come back. And it may be harder to treat. Your healthcare provider may also suggest other care. This may include resting and drinking more fluid. Follow any instructions you're given.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis

Prostatitis can turn into a long-term (chronic) problem. In this case, the prostate stays swollen and inflamed despite treatment with antibiotics. One possible cause is repeated infections that may not have fully resolved. Symptoms include pain and burning when peeing, and needing to pee often. It may also cause lower belly or back pain. If you have this problem, your healthcare provider will talk with you about a treatment plan. Treatment is often taking antibiotics for 6 to 12 weeks.

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