Prostatitis: What is It, and How Do I Know if I Have It?


First, prostatitis is not cancer (in case you were worrying!). The word means inflammation of the prostate, which means that your prostate is irritated and swollen. If you are confused about the prostate, click here to learn more about the prostate.

Your next question is probably, “But why?” Well, it depends. There are several types of prostatitis, so the symptoms vary a bit. Read on to learn more about prostatitis symptoms, causes, and treatment.


Prostatitis is one of the most common urinary problems that men have. It’s more common in men under 50, but any man can develop it.

There are several types of prostatitis, and the causes vary. It’s possible that Dr. Bevan-Thomas won’t be able to tell what caused yours; however there is usually a solution.

Prostatitis can be acute or chronic. Acute cases come on suddenly and are usually caused by a bacterial infection. This type of prostatitis usually responds to antibiotics.

In chronic cases, the symptoms can come and go, or they can be constant. It’s often hard to find a cause for chronic prostatitis. It could be caused by an immune reaction to a urinary tract infection or inflammation from irritation of the pelvis and the muscles around the area of the prostate.


Because there are several types of prostatitis, there are many different symptoms. No one will have all the symptoms on this list, but your symptoms might include:

  • Pain in the lower back, lower abdomen, penis, or scrotum.
  • Pain in the perineum (the area between the scrotum and rectum).
  • Pain or burning with urination.
  • Needing to urinate more often or more urgently than usual.
  • Needing to urinate at night more than usual.
  • Changes in your urine stream - a weak stream, starting and stopping, etc.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms - fevers, chills, and body aches.
  • Inability to empty the bladder completely.


Yes. They can include:

  • Abscess—a collection of pus in the prostate.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Abnormalities in your semen or infertility (with chronic prostatitis).
  • Bacteremia/sepsis—a bacterial infection of the blood or the immune system’s reaction to it (with bacterial prostatitis).

These prostatitis complications can be severe. If you have urinary symptoms that are more than a little bothersome, make an appointment right away.


Dr. Bevan-Thomas will first use RT-PCR testing to look for DNA fragments in your urine, which will tell him if your prostatitis is caused by one or more bacteria or a virus. For this procedure, he uses the Guidance UTI test located in his clinic in Arlington.

This is important because regular urine cultures can miss not only viruses but also many bacteria. Knowing the cause is the first step in solving the problem. 

However, many men will only have the inflammatory prostatitis with no offending virus or bacteria. For these men, Dr. B-T will focus primarily on the inflammatory process itself and not prescribe antibiotics.


Stop the inflammation! Whether it is secondary to a bacteria or a virus, the inflammation must be treated to improve the symptoms ASAP. Dr. Bevan-Thomas recommends the following for many of his patients to improve symptoms quickly.

  • Epsom salt baths. Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate, which, along with hot water helps relax the surrounding pelvic muscles in the pelvis for quick relief.
  • Cranberry extract. Cranberries contain a compound called proanthocyanidin, which prevents E. coli from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract. It’s like rock-climbing on a rainy day. The juice won’t help, though, so stick to the pills.
  • Fluids. Drink 2-3 liters of water a day, and no, coffee and alcohol don’t count.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Naproxen and ibuprofen work great but should be taken regularly for at least five days. Ask Dr. B-T for further details.
  • Medrol Dosepak (in select patients). Stops inflammation in its tracks.
  • Other home remedies may have some benefit, but realize that not everyone with prostatitis needs antibiotics to get better.
  • More complex cases require further treatment.


Prostatitis can be easy to misdiagnose. Because the cause of prostate symptoms isn’t always clear, doctors will often diagnose prostatitis because it’s the most likely option. For this reason, it’s best to see a urologist to see if you’re having prostate or urinary symptoms. Many doctors give patients antibiotics hoping for a good response, but often this complicates the issue even further.

Dr. Bevan-Thomas has the expertise and determination to get to the bottom of your symptoms and ensure that you get the correct diagnosis. He will then discuss your treatment options with you in clear, easy-to-understand terms.


Dr. Bevan-Thomas has the expertise and determination to get to the bottom of your symptoms and ensure that you get the correct diagnosis. He will then discuss your treatment options with you in clear, easy-to-understand terms.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bevan-Thomas, just click on the button below.

Urologist Dr. Richard Bevan-Thomas of Urology Partners
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