3 causes of prostatitis

The Risk Factors and Causes of Prostatitis

There’s no denying it — prostatitis is uncomfortable. The pain, frequent urination and flu-like symptoms associated with prostatitis make it almost unbearable at times. The worst part? Trying to figure out why you are living with prostatitis in the first place. 

Prostatitis is a non-cancerous condition in which the prostate gland is inflamed. While the causes can be different for every individual, some causes of prostatitis are simply not known. However, there are few potential causes that have been found to encourage prostatitis. 

Below, you’ll learn about the different types of prostatitis, the most common potential causes of prostatitis and the risk factors associated with prostatitis to further protect yourself against this condition in the future. 

3 Types of Prostatitis

There are three types of prostatitis: 

  • Acute bacterial
  • Chronic bacterial
  • Nonbacterial

Acute bacterial prostatitis (ABP) occurs when the prostate gland becomes inflamed due to bacteria in the prostate. The symptoms associated with acute bacterial prostatitis are severe, and should be treated immediately.  

Chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP) is a recurrent infection in the prostate gland caused by bacteria, and results in swelling, inflammation, and frequent urinary tract infections. The symptoms are less severe than acute, however, they should still be treated as soon as possible. But even with treatment, bacteria may survive in the prostate and symptoms can return. 

Lastly, nonbacterial prostatitis is an inflamed prostate that is not caused by bacteria. 

Now that you understand the three different types of prostatitis, let’s discuss the various potential causes of prostatitis. 

3 Causes of Prostatitis 

Certain Professions

Believe it or not, some professions can increase your risk of developing prostatitis. For example, having a profession that requires you to lift heavy objects can often put pressure on your prostate. This is especially damaging to the prostate if you’re doing the heavy lifting on a full bladder. 

When enough pressure is introduced, the urine from the bladder can back up into the prostate gland. The bacteria from the urine can then cause inflammation of the prostate and will likely need to be treated with antibiotics.

Jobs that could increase your risk of prostatitis include construction or truck driving. These jobs lead to intense vibrations that can irritate the prostate over time. Operating machinery, driving a truck long distance full-time, or working different construction jobs can all have an impact on a man’s prostate.

Past Bacterial Infections

If a man has past bacterial infections, whether they be urinary tract infections or another bacterial infection to the lower urinary tract area, this can influence whether or not he develops prostatitis. 

Prostatitis is mostly centered around bacterial infections, although at least one type of prostatitis is nonbacterial. This type of prostatitis is usually harder to treat because it’s more difficult to identify what’s causing the infection.

Men who have or have had a past bacterial infection, especially recurrent urinary tract infections that never quite seems to go away, should schedule a visit with their urologist. Following the urologist’s instructions is crucial, especially if antibiotics are prescribed to treat prostatitis. 

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Although sexually transmitted infections (STIs) constitute a very small part of prostatitis cases, they can be influential in whether or not a man is diagnosed with prostatitis. For instance, rectal intercourse can irritate and inflame the prostate, as well as increase the chances of having prostatitis, due to bacteria being introduced to the body.

If a man chooses to engage in rectal intercourse, it’s important to always use protection. This can decrease his chances of receiving a sexually transmitted infection — which are more easily contracted through rectal intercourse — as well as bacteria that could later lead to prostatitis.

Rectal intercourse is one of the many risk factors associated with prostatitis. Let’s take a look at the others you should be aware of.

Prostatitis Risk Factors

As with any health condition, certain lifestyles and actions increase a man’s chances of experiencing prostatitis. The main prostatitis risk factors are:

  • Age. Young and middle-aged men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostatitis.
  • Prior diagnosis. Men who have previously experienced prostatitis are more likely to have it again in the future.
  • Infection. A bladder infection or infection in the urethra increases the likelihood of prostatitis. 
  • Trauma. Previous pelvic trauma is a risk factor for prostatitis. 
  • Catheter. The use of a catheter may irritate the prostate gland and cause prostatitis. 
  • STD. Men living with HIV or AIDS have an increased chance of prostatitis. 
  • Surgery. A prostate biopsy is a prostatitis risk factor as well. 

While there won’t always be a definitive cause for your prostatitis, there are treatment options available. You can decrease your risk for prostatitis by staying hydrated, taking care of bacterial infections when you have them, minimizing your exposure to heavy lifting and of course, using protection during sexual intercourse.

To relieve prostatitis pain at home, take warm baths and avoid caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods. At-home treatments will not eliminate prostatitis though. Schedule an appointment with your urologist to treat prostatitis and potentially determine the cause of your symptoms. 

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Content was originally written on December 25, 2015. Content was refreshed on October 8, 2019.