- Health Library
- Research a Disease or Condition
- Lookup a Symptom
- Learn About a Test
- Prepare for a Surgery or Procedure
- What to do After Being Discharged
- Self-Care Instructions
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Nutrition, Vitamins & Special Diets
Prostatitis - nonbacterial - chronic
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.
See also: Prostatitis - bacterial
NBP; Prostatodynia; Pelvic pain syndrome; CPPS; Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis; Chronic genitourinary pain
Possible causes of nonbacterial prostatitis include:
- A past bacterial prostatitis infection
- Bacteria that are not typical (atypical), such as mycoplasma or ureaplasma
- Irritation caused by a backup of urine flowing into the prostate
- Irritation from chemicals
- Nerve problem involving the lower urinary tract
- Parasites (trichomonads)
- Pelvic floor muscle problem
- Sexual abuse
Life stresses and some psychological factors may also contribute.
Most patients with chronic prostatitis have the nonbacterial form.
- Blood in the semen
- Blood in the urine
- Pain that is located:
- Above the pubic bone (suprapubic)
- Between the genitals and anus (perineal)
- Low back
- Tip of penis
- Pain with bowel movements
- Pain with ejaculation
- Problems with urinating
- Decreased urinary stream
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning with urination
- Incomplete emptying of your bladder
- Weak urine stream
Exams and Tests
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.
See also: Prostatitis - bacterial
Medications called alpha-adrenergic blockers help relax the muscles of the prostate gland. They include:
- Alfuzosin (Uroxatral)
- Doxazosin (Cardura)
- Silodosin (Rapaflo)
- Tamsulosin (Flomax)
- Terazosin (Hytrin)
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.
Transurethral resection of the prostate may be done in rare cases if medicine does not help. This surgery is not usually done on younger men, because it may cause retrograde ejaculation. This can lead to sterility, impotence, and incontinence.
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.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
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.
Reviewed By: 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.