Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Prostatitis

The primary cause of prostatitis is bacteria from the rectum or from a urine infection. Prostatitis is not contagious; you cannot catch it from or give it to someone else.

Complications of untreated prostatitis can include blood infection, abscess of the prostate, abnormal semen, infertility and inflammation of the epididymis, the tube that stores and carries sperm.

Risk factors for prostatitis

Individuals who are at a higher risk for prostatitis include men who: 

  • Had a recent urinary tract infection
  • Had an injury to the perineum, the region between the scrotum and the anus
  • Recently underwent a catheterization or inserted in the urethra
  • Have an enlarged prostate
  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have abnormal urinary tract anatomy
  • React to stress by tightening pelvic muscles
  • Ejaculate infrequently

Diagnosing prostatitis

Tests to prostatitis include:

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE): A physician determines the size and health of your prostate by inserting a gloved finger into your rectum.
  • Prostate massage: During a digital rectal exam, your physician massages your prostate gland to collect seminal fluid from the urethra.
  • Semen culture: Your semen sample is checked under a microscope for bacteria and white blood cells, which indicate infection.
  • Urine culture: This test attempts to grow potential bacteria or yeast found in the urine to help in diagnosing and treating the infection.
  • Cysto-urethroscopy: Also known as cystoscopy, this test uses a scope inserted in the urethra to examine the prostate.
  • Transrectal and transanal 3D ultrasound: These ultrasounds show images of the low rectum, anal sphincters and pelvic floor in patients with a variety of anorectal disorders.
  • CT scan: This test uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the urinary tract.