Prostatitis Symptoms and Treatment by Type of Prostatitis

Chronic prostatitis treatment usually requires a multimodal approach in order to ease symptoms and improve quality of life.

prostatitis symptoms and prostatitis treatment

If you're dealing with prostatitis, fatigue can become a problem. Our author explains work-around options.

© Monkey Business Images |

For many men with prostatitis, fatigue can be a daily companion, albeit an unwanted one. In fact, among the broad and diverse range of prostatitis symptoms accompanying chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS)—the most common type of prostatitis—fatigue, pain, and urinary problems can be the most debilitating.

But the adverse effects of chronic prostatitis often transcend the genitourinary realm, so much so that they can even damage a man’s psyche and his overall quality of life, an expert says.

“Prostatitis impacts on quality of life more than insulin-dependent diabetes, congestive heart failure, recent heart attack, and treated prostate cancer,” says J. Curtis Nickel, MD, President of the Canadian Urological Association and professor of urology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. “This has been proven in our clinical studies.”

In a minority of cases, prostatitis can be managed successfully and simply with antibiotics. More often than not, though, a multifaceted treatment approach is necessary to ease chronic prostatitis fatigue and other symptoms and help men cope with this troublesome disease.

Prostatitis Symptoms

Acute, bacterial, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis

Of the four categories of prostatitis, the first two are caused by bacterial infections. With either acute or chronic bacterial prostatitis, you may experience:

  • fatigue
  • flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever and chills)
  • pain in the abdomen, lower back, or genitals
  • pain when you urinate, ejaculate, or move your bowels
  • difficulty urinating and emptying your bladder completely

These symptoms may develop rapidly with acute bacterial prostatitis or more gradually and less severely with the chronic form. Chronic bacterial prostatitis may cause recurrent urinary tract infections due to bacteria that lingers in the prostate.

A third type of prostatitis is acute asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, and it causes no symptoms.

Chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)

Unfortunately, bacterial prostatitis accounts for only about one in 10 cases of prostatitis. Most men with the disease—and about 17 percent of all men in general—develop the more enigmatic chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), characterized by prostatic inflammation with no discernible cause.

As with the bacterial forms of prostatitis, fatigue often accompanies CPPS. “Prostatitis fatigue is likely caused by central nervous system sensitization,” Dr. Nickel says. “This happens when patients develop neuropathic-type pain, which is associated with long-term, chronic CPPS.”

Common symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • urinary symptoms, including pain in the prostate, bladder, or outside the pelvis and abdomen
  • muscle tenderness/spasms
  • neurological problems
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

And like other chronic pain conditions, CPPS can affect emotional and mental health, leading to stress, depression, and, in some cases, social isolation.

Prostatitis Treatment

Simple options for treating acute, bacterial, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis

In either acute or chronic bacterial prostatitis, the treatment is straightforward: antibiotic therapy—up to eight weeks for acute bacterial prostatitis and up to 12 weeks or more for chronic forms. Acute asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, which causes no symptoms, requires no treatment.

Multimodal treatment for CPPS

Given the wide array of symptoms and complications that CPPS causes, doctors must employ an equally broad range of treatments that differ from patient to patient. While one man may experience only urinary symptoms or prostate pain, another might contend with chronic neuromuscular pain outside the pelvis that won’t respond to treatment aimed solely at the prostate.

The multimodal treatment strategy for CPPS includes a variety of medications to address urinary symptoms and bladder problems; quercetin (an antioxidant) and bee pollen to reduce inflammation and pain localized to the prostate; and neuroleptic drugs—amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Pamelor), and pregabalin (Lyrica) are examples—to treat chronic fatigue and pain outside the pelvis and abdomen. If you have tenderness and tightness in the pelvic floor muscles, your doctor may refer you for pelvic floor physical therapy from a trained therapist.

Also, to counter prostatitis fatigue, Dr. Nickel advises men to work with their physicians to follow a healthy, bladder-friendly diet, which limits spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and other bothersome foods and beverages listed by the Interstitial Cystitis Association. He also recommends psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, to help men manage anxiety, reduce stress, and avoid ruminating about their CPPS.

“Treatment of a single symptom has been shown not to be effective in a majority of patients,” Dr. Nickel says. “All domains of a patient’s CPPS experience must be addressed for overall improvement.

“From both the physician’s and patient’s perspective, the goal of therapy for CPPS is not necessarily cure,” he continues. “Rather, it’s amelioration of symptoms and improvement in activities and quality of life.”


This article was originally published in 2017. It is regularly updated.

As a service to our readers, University Health News offers a vast archive of free digital content. Please note the date published or last update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jim Black

Jim Black has served as executive editor of Cleveland Clinic’s Men’s Health Advisor newsletter since 2005. He has written about prostate diseases, men’s health, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a wide … Read More

View all posts by Jim Black

Enter Your Login Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.