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Prostatitis - nonbacterial

Contents of this page:


Male reproductive anatomy
Male reproductive anatomy

Alternative Names    Return to top

NBP; Prostatodynia; Pelvic pain syndrome

Definition    Return to top

Nonbacterial prostatitis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the prostate gland with no known cause.

Causes    Return to top

There are many theories about the cause of nonbacterial prostatitis, including:

Life stresses and some psychological factors may also contribute.

Most patients with chronic prostatitis have the nonbacterial form.

Symptoms    Return to top

The symptoms of nonbacterial prostatitis are the same as those of chronic bacterial prostatitis.

Exams and Tests    Return to top

A physical examination usually will not show anything unusual. However, the prostate may be swollen, soft or firm, warm, and tender.

Triple-void urine specimens may be collected for urinalysis and urine culture. For these tests, the urine is collected in the:

  1. Initial stream
  2. Mid-stream
  3. After prostate massage by health care provider

Urine tests may show white blood cells, blood, and bacteria in the urine. A semen culture may show increased white blood cells and low sperm count with poor movement (motility).

Treatment    Return to top

Treatment for nonbacterial prostatitis is difficult. Its goal is to control the symptoms.


Many patients are treated with long-term antibiotics to make sure that bacteria is not causing their prostatitis. Common antibiotics used for chronic bacterial prostatitis include the following:

Other medications are used to relieve prostatic urinary obstruction in patients with nonbacterial prostatitis, including:

Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may relieve symptoms in some patients.

Some people have had limited success with pollen extract (Cernitin) and allopurinol. Stool softeners may be recommended to reduce discomfort with bowel movements.


Transurethral resection of the prostate may be done if medical therapy is not successful. This surgical treatment is usually not performed on younger men because it carries risks such as sterility, impotence, and incontinence.


Warm baths may help relieve some of the perineal and lower back pain.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Many patients respond to treatment. However, others do not get relief even after many attempts at treatment. Symptoms often come back after treatment, and may eventually not be treatable.

Possible Complications    Return to top

Untreated symptoms of nonbacterial prostatitis may lead to sexual and urinary problems, which can affect your lifestyle and emotional well-being.

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of prostatitis.

References    Return to top

Barry MJ, McNaughton-Collins M. Benign Prostate Disease and Prostatitis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 130.

Update Date: 9/7/2008

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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