Overview of Prostatitis

Prostatitis is a term used to describe inflammatory conditions of the prostate gland. It is thought that most cases of prostatitis result from bacterial infection, but evidence of infection is not always found. An infected or inflamed prostate can cause painful urination and ejaculation, urinary frequency and urgency, and if left untreated, chronic, recurrent symptoms.

Incidence and Prevalence of Prostatitis

Prostatitis can affect men of any age and it is estimated that 50 percent of men experience the disorder during their lifetime. According to the National Institutes of Health, prostatitis accounts for 25 percent of all office visits involving the genitourinary system by young and middle-aged men.

Nonbacterial prostatitis and prostatodynia, which is also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), are the most common diagnoses. Bacterial prostatitis (acute and chronic) accounts for less than 5–10 percent of cases. Acute bacterial prostatitis occurs most often in men under age 35, and chronic bacterial prostatitis primarily affects men between the ages of 40 and 70.

Prostate Gland Anatomy

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It secretes seminal fluid, a milky substance that combines with sperm to form semen.

Publication Review By: David M. Kaufman, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 09 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015