Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is a condition that causes long-term pain and urinary symptoms. It involves the prostate gland or other parts of a man's lower urinary tract or genital area. This condition is not caused by an infection with bacteria.
A physical examination usually will not show anything abnormal. However, the prostate may be swollen or tender.
Urine tests may show white or red blood cells in the urine. A semen culture may show increased white blood cells and low sperm count with poor movement (motility).
Urine culture or culture from the prostate does not show bacteria.
Treatment for nonbacterial prostatitis is difficult. The goal is to control symptoms, because it is hard to cure this condition.
Many patients are treated with long-term antibiotics to make sure that bacteria are not causing their prostatitis. However, patients who have had symptoms for a long period of time and do not seem to benefit from antibiotics should stop taking them.
Medications called alpha-adrenergic blockers help relax the muscles of the prostate gland. They include:
It usually takes about 6 weeks before these medicines start working. Many people do not get relief from these medicines.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may relieve symptoms in some patients.
Some people have found some relief from pollen extract (Cernitin) and allopurinol, although research does not confirm their benefit. Stool softeners may be recommended to reduce discomfort with bowel movements.
Warm baths may help relieve some of the pain. A number of other treatments have been used, such as prostate massage, acupuncture, and relaxation exercises. However, none of these therapies have been proven to help.
Many patients respond to treatment. However, others do not get relief, even after trying many treatments. Symptoms often come back after treatment, and may eventually not be treatable.
Untreated symptoms of nonbacterial prostatitis may lead to sexual and urinary problems, which can affect your lifestyle and emotional well-being.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of prostatitis.
Barry MJ, Collins M. Benign prostate disease and prostatitis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 131.
Nickel JC. Inflammatory conditions of the male genitourinary tract: Prostatitis and related conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 9.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.