Prostatitis Treatment

Treatment for bacterial prostatitis is fairly straightforward: antibiotics for four to 16 weeks. Appropriate antibiotics include trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), doxycycline (Doryx), and fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin (Cipro). Bacterial prostatitis is the most curable form of the disease. That said, some men do not respond to treatment, and sometimes symptoms reappear once the antibiotics are stopped.

Treatment of nonbacterial prostatitis is more difficult. Some experts now believe that there are six CPPS subtypes, which are based on the presence of certain symptoms or characteristics. They propose that treatment or treatments (combination therapy is often required to obtain sufficient relief) be individualized based on the man's particular subtype(s). These include:

  • Urinary symptoms. Pain on urination as well as a bothersome increase in urinary frequency and urgency and/or nighttime urination. Possible treatments include anticholinergic medications, such as tolterodine (Detrol) and oxybutynin (Ditropan); alpha-blockers such as tamsulosin (Flomax) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral); and dietary changes such as cutting down on caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol.
  • Psychosocial symptoms. A history of anxiety, depression, stress, and/or a history of sexual abuse. Counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, stress reduction techniques, and an antidepressant may be effective in this setting.
  • Organ-specific symptoms. Pain localized to the prostate or pain that is associated with filling and emptying the bladder. Therapies to address these symptoms include pentosan polysulfate (Elmiron), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and lidocaine bicarbonate administered directly into the bladder. Alternative therapies such as quercetin, bee pollen, bromelain/papain, and saw palmetto (Permixon) as well as neuromodulation also may be helpful.
  • Infection. Infection caused by organisms not typically associated with bacterial prostatitis. Ideally, the urine should be cultured to identify a causative organism and the infection treated with an antibiotic that the infectious organism is known to be sensitive to. If an antibiotic is prescribed before specific culture results are obtained and the patient does not respond to adequate therapy, an additional course of antimicrobial therapy is not warranted.
  • Neurological conditions. The presence of other pain-related neurologic or systemic conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or low back and leg pain. Neuroleptic drugs, such as pregabalin (Lyrica), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), and amitriptyline, and acupuncture are potential therapies. Referral to a pain management clinic and stress reduction techniques also may be beneficial.
  • Skeletal muscle tenderness. The presence of spasms or trigger points in the abdomen or pelvis on examination by the doctor. Potential treatments include pelvic floor physical therapy, stress reduction, behavior modification (for example, sitting on a cushion when seated for a long period), oral antispasmodics and neuromodulation also may be appropriate.

Publication Review By: H. Ballentine Carter, M.D.

Published: 14 Jun 2011

Last Modified: 19 Feb 2015