Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
Acute bacterial prostatitis is a form of prostatitis caused by bacteria that infect the prostate gland and cause inflammation. It is “acute” because it comes on suddenly and lasts for a short time, typically from several weeks to less than three months. (Bacterial prostatitis that lasts longer than three months is known as chronic bacterial prostatitis.)
Any bacteria that are capable of invading the urinary tract and causing an infection are capable of triggering acute bacterial prostatitis.
The main bacterium is Escherichia coli (E. coli), although there are others that can directly or indirectly trigger the disease. They include:
- Chlamydia trachomatis(they also cause Chlamydia)
- Enterococci spp.
- Klebsiella pneumonia
- Neisseria gonorrhea (which causes gonorrhea)
- Proteus mirabilis
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Staphylococcus aureus
How Does the Bacteria Get to the Prostate?
Bacteria usually enter through the urethra and make their way up the male plumbing to the prostate. Bacteria can also form in the bladder and enter its way down in the urine. Bacteria can also be contracted when an instrument like a catheter is inserted in to the urethra. You can also contract bacteria through sexual activity from a partner who has a bacterial infection. Having anal sex without a condom is one way for bacteria to get into the bladder and make their way to the prostate. Another way bacteria can get into the prostate is that E. coli can creep up into the bladder from the rectum. Then the bacteria in the urine find their way into the prostate. One main cause of this could be food contamination. If chicken and animal products are contaminated with E. coli, the bacteria can get into your intestinal tract and lead to bladder infections.
Am I at Risk?
Acute bacterial prostatitis usually affects middle-aged and older men, although men of any age can experience this painful inflammation. Men who develop acute bacterial prostatitis are usually affected by two types of prostatitis symptoms:
- Those associated with the urinary tract, such as painful urination, urinary frequency, acute urinary tract infection, and pain when ejaculating, among others
- Those caused by the bacterial infection making its way throughout the body, such as chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting
Acute bacterial prostatitis is the least common of the four types of prostatitis, making up less than 5% of cases of prostatitis. However, it is also the most serious form of prostatitis. Therefore, if you experience any prostatitis symptoms, be sure to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. He or she will conduct an examination and order any necessary tests to determine if you have acute bacterial prostatitis. The bacteria can be present in the blood or urine or both.
A number of different bacteria can be responsible for acute bacterial prostatitis, including any that can cause a urinary tract infection. However, prompt treatment with selected antibiotics along with dietary and lifestyle changes usually (but not always) eliminates the infection and may help prevent it from returning.
If you delay treatment of acute bacterial prostatitis or do not complete the treatment recommended by your doctor (such as finishing all your antibiotics), the infection could get worse and cause serious complications, such as sepsis (severe blood infection) or an inability to urinate, or it may develop into chronic bacterial prostatitis. In rare cases, patients with acute bacterial prostatitis need hospitalization and IV antibiotics if their infection is severe. This would be more likely with an immunocompromised patient.
In some cases, your health care professional may recommend you going on a long-term course of antibiotics. Be sure to discuss other options such as a multimodal treatment approach before committing to long-term antibiotic treatment as long-term use of antibiotics can have serious side effects.