Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul Song M.D
Article at a Glance
- Prostatitis is a blanket term for a group of conditions that affect the prostate and pelvic area.
- Only a doctor can determine whether a patient has prostatitis and what type of prostatitis it is.
- Prostatitis can be caused by bacteria, inflammation, pelvic tension, or a variety of other causes.
There are four main types of prostatitis—Acute Bacterial, Chronic Bacterial, Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) and Asymptomatic. Prostatitis is more of a blanket terms for a group of different but related conditions involving the prostate gland and pelvic area. Some of the types—in fact the most common type of prostatitis (CPPS)—do not even involve the prostate gland itself.
The 4 Types of Prostatitis
- Acute bacterial prostatitis: This bacterial infection of the prostate gland is actually the least common type of prostatitis. It is caused by several types of bacteria, but most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli).
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis: This recurrent bacterial infection of the prostate gland is not common. It is also caused by bacteria, but it lasts longer (three months or longer) than acute bacterial prostatitis and can be more difficult to treat.
- Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS): The majority of men with symptoms have this most common type of prostatitis, also known as chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. There is no infection found. The prostate itself may not be involved. There are two subgroups of CPPS:
- Inflammatory chronic pain syndrome: White blood cells found in semen or static secretions.
- Non-inflammatory chronic pelvic pain syndrome: No white blood cells found in semen or static secretions.
CPPS is a debilitating and distressing disorder for men and the hardest type of prostatitis to treat. The thing that is most challenging about treating CPPS is that it is usually caused by problems outside of the prostate. There is often tension in the pelvic muscles outside of the prostate. While antibiotics can usually treat bacterial prostatitis, they do not work for CPPS. Men with CPPS usually have to experiment with several natural therapies and alternative treatments to mange their disorder. A number of these natural and alternative therapies have been proven in studies to provide relief when they are used in holistic multimodal treatment program.
- Asymptomatic prostatitis: This is an uncommon type of prostatitis in which there are no symptoms typical of other forms of prostatitis. The prostate may be inflamed but without causing symptoms. It is usually found when a doctor finds white blood cells in prostatic secretions or prostate tissue when evaluating other disorders.
The first three types of prostatitis present with similar symptoms. Men who experience the following symptoms should get evaluated for prostatitis:
- dribbling when urinating
- difficulty starting the urinary flow
- weak urinary stream
- getting up during the night to urinate
- painful urination
- frequent urgent need to urinate
- pain when ejaculating
- pelvic pain
Only a healthcare professional can determine whether a patient has prostatitis and what type of prostatitis it is. A doctor can rule out other prostate conditions with some similar symptoms such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). If the patient is diagnosed with prostatitis after conducting an examination and doing any necessary tests, the doctor and patient should discuss treatment. A multimodal treatment approach can maximize chances of recovery.
Sometimes prostatitis can be a serious medical condition, especially in the case of acute bacterial prostatitis. Even though prostatitis is not contagious and is not transmitted sexually, it is important to discuss treatment options with the healthcare provider as soon as possible. Even if it does not seem like a serious case, it is important to start treatment to help alleviate discomfort, prevent complications from developing, and prevent long-term health problems. Some CPPS treatments do take a long time to get results, so embarking on treatment is making a big commitment to getting better.