Common Questions About Chronic Prostatitis
Chronic prostatitis is relatively common, with a lifetime prevalence of 1.8% to 8.2%. Risk factors include conditions that facilitate introduction of bacteria into the urethra and prostate (which also predispose the patient to urinary tract infections) and conditions that can lead to chronic neuropathic pain. Chronic prostatitis must be differentiated from other causes of chronic pelvic pain, such as interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome and pelvic floor dysfunction; prostate and bladder cancers; benign prostatic hyperplasia; urolithiasis; and other causes of dysuria, urinary frequency, and nocturia. The National Institutes of Health divides prostatitis into four syndromes: acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP), chronic nonbacterial prostatitis (CNP)/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. CBP and CNP/CPPS both lead to pelvic pain and lower urinary tract symptoms. CBP presents as recurrent urinary tract infections with the same organism identified on repeated cultures; it responds to a prolonged course of an antibiotic that adequately penetrates the prostate, if the urine culture suggests sensitivity. If four to six weeks of antibiotic therapy is effective but symptoms recur, another course may be prescribed, perhaps in combination with alpha blockers or nonopioid analgesics. CNP/CPPS, accounting for more than 90% of chronic prostatitis cases, presents as prostatic pain lasting at least three months without consistent culture results. Weak evidence supports the use of alpha blockers, pain medications, and a four- to six-week course of antibiotics for the treatment of CNP/CPPS. Patients may also be referred to a psychologist experienced in managing chronic pain. Experts on this condition recommend a combination of treatments tailored to the patient’s phenotypic presentation. Urology referral should be considered when appropriate treatment is ineffective. Additional treatments include pelvic floor physical therapy, phytotherapy, and pain management techniques. The UPOINT (urinary, psychosocial, organ-specific, infection, neurologic/systemic, tenderness) approach summarizes the various factors that may contribute to presentation and can guide treatment.
Holt, James D.; Garrett, W. Allan; McCurry, Tyler K.; and Teichman, Joel M.H.. 2016. Common Questions About Chronic Prostatitis. American Family Physician. Vol.93(4). 290-296. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0215/p290.html PMID: 26926816 ISSN: 0002-838X