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Acute Bacterial Prostatitis

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis is a sudden onset of bacterial infection of the male prostate gland that surrounds the urinary bladder.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Acute Bacterial Infection of Prostate Gland

What is Acute Bacterial Prostatitis? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Acute Bacterial Prostatitis is a sudden onset of bacterial infection of the male prostate gland that surrounds the urinary bladder. The condition is also known as Acute Bacterial Infection of Prostate Gland
  • This infection typically affects adult males over the age of 50 years, due to factors, such as injury to the groin region, low fluid intake causing dehydration, urinary infections, etc.
  • Bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Neisseria gonococci, and many other are known to be causative agents of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
  • Associated signs and symptoms of the infection could include lower back pain, fever with chills, nausea, painful urination, and even urinary infection. This could lead to complications such as abscess in the prostate gland and pus formation, spreading of the infection to the blood, and even infertility
  • Individuals affected with Acute Bacterial Infection of Prostate Gland are usually treated with antibiotics and painkillers, though hospitalization may be required for severe cases
  • The prognosis is generally good with early diagnosis and intervention, and if no serious complications develop. However, if left untreated, septicemia could ensue. Untreated Acute Bacterial Prostatitis could result in a chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • Preventive methods for avoiding Acute Bacterial Prostatitis include drinking plenty of fluids, engaging in safe sexual practices, and seeking prompt treatment for urinary tract infections

Who gets Acute Bacterial Prostatitis? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Generally, young and middle-aged men are affected by Acute Bacterial Prostatitis. It is a relatively rare condition
  • However, men over the age of 50 years are at increased risk, because of an enlarged prostate gland, which can cause an obstruction and lead to an infection
  • Men of all ethnic groups and races are at risk for the infection

What are the Risk Factors for Acute Bacterial Prostatitis? (Predisposing Factors)

The following are the risk factors that could potentially contribute to Acute Bacterial Prostatitis:

  • Infection of the urinary bladder
  • Advancing age: Men over 50 years (since an enlarged prostate can cause a blockage, making it easier for bacteria to grow)
  • Less intake of fluids leading to dehydration
  • Any injury to the area around the prostate, such as during cycling, playing with grandchildren, etc.
  • Removal of a piece of tissue from the prostate gland (biopsy) to look for any cancer
  • Past infection of prostate gland
  • Use of urinary catheter (a tube which is used to drain urine from the urinary bag)
  • Being infected with HIV/AIDS
  • Unprotected anal sex increases the risk of bacteria from stool, entering into the urinary pathway

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis? (Etiology)

The bacteria, which generally cause urinary infections, also cause Acute Bacterial Prostatitis. Common bacteria causing the condition include:

  • Escherichia coli - it is the most common bacteria causing Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
  • Staphylococcus aureus - generally via urinary catheter
  • Neisseria gonococci - especially in sexually-active young men
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Klebsiella
  • Pseudomonas auerginosa

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis?

The signs and symptoms of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis can occur very quickly and they include:

  • Fever with chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling tired
  • Low back pain or lower abdominal pain
  • Pain around the genital area
  • Increased frequency of urination, especially at night
  • Urgency in voiding urine
  • Painful or burning sensation during urination
  • Blood in the semen
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Associated urinary infections

How is Acute Bacterial Prostatitis Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis is made from the signs and symptoms, a thorough physical examination of the individual, with medical history evaluation, and by a few tests. The following tests may be performed:

  • Digital rectal examination: A finger is inserted through the rectum to feel the prostate gland. On palpation, it may appear that the prostate is swollen, boggy, enlarged, and very painful
  • Urine analysis: This may show white blood cells and bacteria indicating infection. If needed, an urine culture may be done, to find out the bacteria type causing the condition
  • A complete blood count may show increased white blood cells
  • Testing of the semen for any infection
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level: Acute Bacterial Prostatitis is associated with increased PSA. This test is routinely performed only in complicated infections
  • Imaging studies, like transrectal ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) are performed, if there are complications, like a prostatic abscess

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis?

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis may potentially cause the following complications:

  • Infection can spread to the blood (bacteremia)
  • The fluctuant prostate gland filled with pus (prostatic abscess)
  • Spread of infection to the epididymis (a tube that is attached to testis)
  • Urinary retention can occur due to painful urination; it can lead to urinary bladder infection

How is Acute Bacterial Prostatitis Treated?

Individuals with Acute Bacterial Prostatitis are usually treated with:

  • Antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, etc.
  • Painkillers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • Intake of more fluids is recommended
  • Hospitalization is required for severely ill individuals with complications
  • Catheterization (a tube to drain urine) may be required for individuals with urinary retention

How can Acute Bacterial Prostatitis be Prevented?

Acute Bacterial Prostatitis infection may be prevented by:

  • Avoiding injury to the genital area
  • Intake of plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Engaging in safe sex practices
  • Undertaking a prompt treatment of any urinary infections

What is the Prognosis of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • A prompt diagnosis and treatment of Acute Bacterial Prostatitis can lead to an excellent prognosis; in such cases, complications can also be averted
  • If left untreated, the infection can lead to the following:
    • Abscess formation (filled with pus)
    • Spread of infection to blood leading to septicemia
    • Persistent prolonged infection (chronic bacterial prostatitis)
    • Sometimes, even to infertility

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Acute Bacterial Prostatitis:

The following DoveMed website link is a useful resource for additional information:


What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

Prostatitis Foundation
1063 30th Street Box 8, Smithshire, Illinois 61478
Phone: (309) 325-7184
Toll-Free: (888) 891-4200
Fax: (309) 325-7184
Email: info@prostatitis.org
Website: http://prostatitis.org

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000519.htm (accessed on 12/01/2015)

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/acute-prostatitis (accessed on 12/01/2015)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Bruyere, F., Cariou, G., Boiteux, J. P., Hoznek, A., Mignard, J. P., Escaravage, L., . . . le, C. (2008). [Acute prostatitis]. Prog Urol, 18 Suppl 1, 19-23. doi: 10.1016/S1166-7087(08)70508-6

Jarzen, J., Diamanduros, A., & Scarpinato, K. D. (2013). Mismatch repair proteins in recurrent prostate cancer. Adv Clin Chem, 60, 65-84. 

Lipsky, B. A., Byren, I., & Hoey, C. T. (2010). Treatment of bacterial prostatitis. Clin Infect Dis, 50(12), 1641-1652. doi: 10.1086/652861

Ramakrishnan, K., & Salinas, R. C. (2010). Prostatitis: acute and chronic. Prim Care, 37(3), 547-563, viii-ix. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2010.04.007

Naber, K. G., Wagenlehner, F. M., & Weidner, W. (2008). Acute bacterial prostatitis. In Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (pp. 17-30). Humana Press.

Shigehara, K., Miyagi, T., Nakashima, T., & Shimamura, M. (2008). Acute bacterial prostatitis after transrectal prostate needle biopsy: clinical analysis. Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy, 14(1), 40-43.

Etienne, M., Chavanet, P., Sibert, L., Michel, F., Levesque, H., Lorcerie, B., ... & Caron, F. (2008). Acute bacterial prostatitis: heterogeneity in diagnostic criteria and management. Retrospective multicentric analysis of 371 patients diagnosed with acute prostatitis. BMC infectious diseases, 8(1), 12.

Minamida, S., Satoh, T., Tabata, K., Kimura, M., Tsumura, H., Kurosaka, S., ... & Baba, S. (2011). Prevalence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli before and incidence of acute bacterial prostatitis after prostate biopsy. Urology, 78(6), 1235-1239.