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Prostatitis -- an inflammation or infection of the prostate gland -- affects many young to middle-aged men. Symptoms include painful urination, urinary frequency and urgency, and pain in the lower back and genital area. There are four main types of this condition -- some of which resolve with antibiotics. However, other forms do not respond to antibiotics and require a different treatment approach.

What Is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is an inflammation or infection of the prostate gland. It affects at least half of all men at some time in their lives. Having this condition does not increase your risk of developing any other prostate disease, such as prostate cancer.

What Causes It?

The cause of prostatitis can vary. In some cases, it is caused by a bacterial infection. In these cases, treatment involves antibiotics. But the more common forms of prostatitis are not associated with any known infecting organism. Thus, antibiotics are often ineffective in treating the nonbacterial forms of the disease.


(Click Prostatitis Causes for more information.)


Types of Prostatitis

The term prostatitis actually encompasses four disorders:
  • Acute bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome
  • Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.


The acute and chronic bacterial forms are relatively uncommon. Chronic prostatitis is the most common.



Inflammation of the prostate gland causes the symptoms of prostatitis, which include:
  • Urinary frequency and urgency
  • Burning or painful urination (dysuria)
  • Pain in the lower back and genital area.
Other symptoms can also occur.
(Click Prostatitis Symptoms for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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