Acute Prostatitis

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder in men. This gland makes fluid that mixes with sperm to form semen. Because the prostate surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder), conditions that cause the prostate to swell or enlarge may press on the urethra and cause pain or problems with urination.

Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. Acute prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland that results in sudden onset of symptoms. Acute prostatitis is caused by an infection, usually by bacteria that get into the prostate by traveling up the urethra. Some of these bacteria are the normal germs that live on and inside your body. Other infections are transmitted through sexual contact.  

Most men who will develop prostatitis have a normal prostate gland, although the infection may be more common in older men as the gland gets larger with age. There is no known link between prostatitis and prostate cancer.


Typical symptoms of acute prostatitis include:  

  • Burning or dribbling with urination  
  • Difficulty starting the urine stream or total inability to pass urine at all  
  • Cloudiness or blood in the urine  
  • Pain above the penis, in or below the scrotum, in the back or in the rectum  
  • Fever and chills  
  • Flu-like symptoms including muscle aches and general weakness


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Your doctor will examine your prostate by gently inserting a finger into your rectum. When the prostate is infected, it usually feels swollen. When slight pressure is put on the gland, you may experience pain or a severe need to urinate. Your doctor also will do a general exam to make sure that infection has not spread to other organs, such as the kidneys.


A next step will be to examine a urine specimen for evidence of infection, such as white blood cells and bacteria. In a typical case of acute prostatitis, the urine will contain white blood cells. You may also have blood tests to check your kidney function and blood cell count. Your doctor may order an ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan if there is concern that your swollen prostate is causing urinary obstruction.

Expected Duration

If treated promptly, the symptoms of prostatitis usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours. In more severe cases, symptoms of infection may linger for more than a week.


Most cases of prostatitis cannot be prevented. However, if an infection is caught early, it is more likely to respond quickly to treatment. In addition, some cases of prostatitis are caused by sexually transmitted bacteria. Many of these infections can be prevented by practicing safe sex. 


Acute prostatitis is treated with antibiotics. In severe cases, antibiotics will be given intravenously (into a vein). In less severe cases, antibiotics can be taken orally. Because it is difficult for antibiotics to get from the bloodstream into the prostate, these medications often are prescribed for three or more weeks. 

If you are severely ill with prostatitis, your doctor may admit you to a hospital to give you intravenous antibiotics and make sure your vital signs remain stable. Usually, a stay of only a few days is needed. If the prostate is very swollen, it may be necessary to insert a catheter to allow urine to drain. This catheter may need to be left in place for up to a week, but as the infection comes under control, you should be able to urinate normally again.

When To Call a Professional

Call a health care professional if you develop:  

  • Pain or difficulty with urination  
  • Blood or cloudiness in your urine  
  • Severe back or groin pain combined with fever  
  • A reaction to an antibiotic you have been given to treat your prostate infection, such as a rash, nausea with vomiting or severe diarrhea 
  • Delaying treatment can allow the infection to spread. In severe cases, a man may become extremely ill and need to seek emergency care.


Most cases of acute prostatitis respond promptly to treatment. Your doctor may recommend a prolonged course of antibiotics. Even if you start to feel better, it is important to complete the full treatment. Symptoms of irritation or hesitancy as you pass urine may linger for a while, but eventually should go away completely.

Additional Info

National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disorders

American Urological Association

  1. Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
  2. Matthew 18:15
    If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
  3. Ephesians 1:7-8
    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
  4. Luke 6:37
    Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
  5. 1 Peter 3:9
    Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
  6. Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  7. John 3:16-17
    For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
  8. Matthew 18:21-22
    Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
  9. Joel 2:13
    Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
  10. Psalm 65:3
    Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all.
  11. Romans 4:5
    But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

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