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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Prostatitis

Prostatitis is swelling (inflammation) of the prostate gland.

There are two main types of prostatitis. The most common type is chronic (long-term) prostatitis. Long-term prostatitis develops slowly, and the symptoms come and go over several months.

The other type is acute prostatitis. This type is rare and can be serious. With acute prostatitis, symptoms are severe and come on suddenly. You often get a bladder infection at the same time.

Prostatitis can affect men of any age, though it's more common in men aged 50 and younger.

It isn't clear what causes long-term prostatitis, though it usually isn't caused by an infection. Acute prostatitis is always caused by an infection.

Risks factors for prostatitis include:

Symptoms of prostatitis

The symptoms are similar to the ones you get with an enlarged prostate.

Both long-term and acute prostatitis symptoms can include:

Acute prostatitis may cause general aches and pains. You can also sometimes have a high temperature and a discharge of thick fluid from the end of your penis.

If your symptoms come on suddenly, you need immediate treatment.

Diagnosing prostatitis

It can be hard to diagnose prostatitis as its symptoms can be quite vague. You can have various tests to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms. Your GP may take a urine and blood test to look for signs of infection. They might also carry out a digital rectal examination. This is when they gently insert a lubricated gloved finger into your bottom to examine your prostate.

Treating Prostatitis

The treatment depends on the cause of your prostatitis and may include:

If your symptoms are severe, you don't respond to treatment, or you need further investigation, your GP may refer you to a specialist.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed October 2017. Last updated November 2019.

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Review key: HIPRH-45800