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Treatment of prostatitis

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Prostatitis refers to inflammation of the prostate gland and sometimes the surrounding area. There are several forms of prostatitis and treatment depends on the type of prostatitis a man has and its causes.

The two main forms of the condition are acute or sudden-onset prostatitis and chronic prostatitis. Many cases of prostatitis are caused by infection and, often, a course of antibiotics is sufficient to treat the condition. However, the most common form of prostatitis, chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), can be more challenging to treat as the condition can be caused by factors other than infection such as disorder of the nerves around the prostate, injury, or backflow of urine into the prostate.

Treatment outline for acute prostatitis

  • Acute prostatitis is usually caused by bacterial infection and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Usually, a four-week course is prescribed and symptoms begin to improve within two weeks. However, it is imperative that the treatment is continued for its full course.
  • Pain and inflammation symptoms are eased with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
  • In rare cases, pain may be severe enough to warrant the use of opioids such as morphine or codeine.

Treatment outline for chronic prostatitis

  • If the chronic prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection, a course of antibiotics is usually prescribed.
  • Another group of drugs that are useful in chronic prostatitis are alpha blockers. Alpha-blockers act by relaxing the muscles in the prostate gland and the base of the urinary bladder. This can help to relieve urinary symptoms such as difficulty or pain on urination. Examples of drugs in this class include tamsulosin and alfuzosin. Side effects of these drugs include a sudden fall in blood pressure, headache and dizziness.
  • Pain and inflammation symptoms are eased with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
  • A drug used to treat prostate enlargement called finasteride has been shown to be effective in treating nonbacterial chronic prostatitis.
  • The antidepressant fluoxetine has also demonstrated benefits in the nonbacterial form of chronic prostatitis.
  • Gabapentin and amitriptylline may be useful in treating chronic pain.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2014

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