By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate is diagnosed based on a patient’s symptoms and several laboratory tests.
There are two main forms of prostatitis which include the chronic type and the acute type.
Diagnosis of acute prostatitis
The steps taken in the diagnosis of acute prostatitis include:
A detailed history of the patient’s symptoms are obtained. The symptoms of acute prostatitis are usually sudden and severe.
Urine analysis is performed to check for evidence of infection.
Routine blood tests are also performed to check for signs of inflammation such as an elevated white blood cell count
A digital rectal examination is carried out which involves the healthcare professional feeling the prostate through the wall of the rectum using their finger to check for irregularities such as enlargement. In the case of acute prostatitis, the gland may be tender and sore when touched.
Diagnosis of chronic prostatitis
Chronic prostatitis diagnosis involves assessing the patient’s symptoms and ruling out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
A detailed history of symptoms, any previous history of prostate biopsy, urinary catheterization, urinary tract infection or acute prostatitis is obtained from the patient.
Urine is examined for evidence of infection. The semen may also be examined for signs of infection.
A digital rectal examination may be performed to feel for any abnormalities in the prostate gland. Again, the gland may be painful when touched in cases of chronic prostatitis.
Radiological imaging studies such as a computed tomography scan or an ultrasound scan may be performed to rule out other prostate disorders that present with similar symptoms to chronic prostatitis.
Cystoscopy may be performed to check the urinary bladder for diseases, stones or infection. For this procedure, a thin tube is inserted into the bladder via the urethra. The tube is equipped with a camera and light to allow for visualization of the inside of the urinary tract.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2014