The Four Types of Prostatitis

Inflammation of the Prostate Gland

Prostatitis. Getty Images Credit: John Fedele

If it's painful when you urinate or ejaculate, or you experience frequent pain in your lower back, you may have prostatitis. Half of all men experience this very common condition at some time in their life, and as many as 25 percent of all doctor's visits for genital and urinary problems by young and middle-aged men are due to prostatitis.

There are four types of prostatitis, which is an inflammatory condition of the prostate gland that can be very painful during urination or ejaculation.

If left untreated, serious complications can occur. Talk to your doctor if you're experiencing any of these symptoms.

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

The least common form of prostatitis is acute bacterial prostatitis. Caused by bacteria such as klebsiella or escherichia, this form demands prompt treatment to avoid serious complications.

Symptoms of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis:

  • Fever
  • Pain in the lower back and genital region, the testicles, penis and the area between the scrotum and anus
  • Frequent and potentially urgent trips to the bathroom with pain during urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Tender and swollen prostate (as identified by a physician)

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an uncommon recurrent infection with inflammation of the prostate and urinary tract. There is often an abnormality of the prostate, which needs to be fixed so that the infections do not keep reoccurring.

Symptoms tend to be less severe than with the acute form.

Symptoms of Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis:

  • Fever
  • Discomfort in the genital area
  • Lower back and/or abdominal pain
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in semen
  • Recurring urinary tract infections

Nonbacterial Prostatitis

As its name implies, no bacterial infection is present in the inflamed prostate but the symptoms are often the same as with other forms of prostatitis.

The cause of nonbacterial prostatitis is unknown, but it is thought that organisms, such as viruses or chlamydia, may be responsible.

Symptoms of Nonbacterial Prostatitis:

  • Blood in the semen
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the genital area and lower back
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Problems with urinating

Chronic Prostatitis

Also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome or prostatodynia, chronic prostatitis is when symptoms of prostatitis occur but there is no inflammation or bacterial infection. In the inflammatory form, although no infection is found, there are cells in the urine, semen, and other fluids that are known to be produced when infection is actually present.The non-inflammatory type shows no inflammation and no immune defense cells. The cause is unknown, but like chronic pelvic pain syndrome, a virus or chlamydia may be responsible. While this is the least understood of all forms of prostatitis, it is the most commonly occurring. 

Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis:

  • Pain in the central lower abdomen, penis, scrotum or lower back
  • Pain during or after ejaculation
  • Pain spread out around the pelvic area or in one or more areas at the same time
  • Pain in the urethra during or after urination
  • Pain in the penis during or after urination
  • Urinating frequently (eight or more times a day)
  • Urinary urgency

Diagnosing Prostatitis

Unfortunately, there is nothing men can do to prevent prostatitis, but it can be treated. If you are experiencing the symptoms above, contact your doctor right away. Your doctor will likely refer you to a urologist for medical tests that help diagnose problems related to prostatitis and treatments. Treatment will depend on which type of prostatitis you are diagnosed with but should have you feeling back to normal within a few weeks.


Prostatitis - nonbacterial: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (U.S National Library of Medicine)

Prostatitis - Columbia Urology

Prostatitis - Inflammation of the Prostate: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

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