What are the signs and symptoms of prostatitis?

Symptoms of prostatitis

Prostatitis can cause a wide range of symptoms, which vary from man to man. Symptoms will also depend on the type of prostatitis you have.

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Symptoms for chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)

The symptoms of CPPS vary from man to man, but may include pain or discomfort in:

  • the area between your back passage and testicles (perineum)
  • the lower part of your stomach area (lower abdomen)
  • your penis, especially the tip
  • your testicles
  • your back passage (rectum) and lower back
  • your inner thighs

Symptoms may also include:

  • sexual problems such as difficulty getting or keeping an erection, pain or burning when you ejaculate, and premature ejaculation
  • urinary problems such as feeling like you haven’t emptied your bladder properly, needing to urinate more often or urgently, or mild discomfort or pain when you urinate
  • bowel problems such as bloating or diarrhoea.

In rare cases, there can be blood in the semen. This can also be a sign that there is something else wrong, so always speak to your doctor if you have blood in your semen.

Speak to your GP if you have any of the symptoms listed here. You can also call our Specialist Nurses if you have any questions.

The chronic prostatitis symptom index

If you have CPPS, the chronic prostatitis symptom index can help you to explain your symptoms to your doctor and can help them to monitor your treatment. You can use this to show your GP.

You can read more about CPPS, including the test used to diagnose it, and the treatments available.

Symptoms for acute bacterial prostatitis

If you have acute bacterial prostatitis the symptoms usually develop very quickly. They include:

  • a high temperature (above 38°C), feeling feverish, sweating, chills and shivering
  • pain in the area between your testicles and back passage (perineum), the skin around your testicles (scrotum), your penis, lower back, muscles or joints in your pelvic area, inner thighs, and sometimes in your back passage (rectum)
  • needing to urinate more often, especially at night
  • a sudden urge to urinate
  • pain when urinating
  • difficulty urinating.

About 1 in 10 men (10 per cent) with this type of prostatitis find they suddenly and painfully can’t urinate. This is called acute urine retention. It needs treating straight away, usually at a hospital. The doctor or nurse will pass a thin, flexible tube called a catheter up your penis into your bladder to drain the urine. Or they might pass the catheter through the wall of your stomach area (abdomen). This will help drain urine from your bladder.

Don’t wait

It is very important to seek medical advice immediately if you think you might have acute bacterial prostatitis and have a high temperature. It needs treating straight away.

You can read more about acute bacterial prostatitis, including the test used to diagnose it, and the treatments available.

Symptoms for chronic bacterial prostatitis

The most common symptoms are similar to the symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis but they are usually less severe. Common symptoms include painful ejaculation, pain in the penis and testicles, and urine infections. You may find that your symptoms are worse on some days than others.

You can read more about chronic bacterial prostatitis, including the test used to diagnose it, and the treatments available.

Symptoms for asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis

If you have asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis then you won't get any symptoms – the word asymptomatic means there are no symptoms. But if you do start to have any of the symptoms listed on this page, speak to your GP straight away.

You can read more about asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, including the test used to diagnose it, and the treatments available.


Updated: November 2022 | Due for review: March 2024

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  • Bonkat G, Bartoletti R, Bruyère F, Cai T, Geerlings SE, Koves B, et al. EAU Guidelines on Urological Infections [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 25]. Available from: https://d56bochluxqnz.cloudfront.net/documents/full-guideline/EAU-Guidelines-on-Urological-Infections-2022.pdf

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  • Li H-J, Kang D-Y. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a meta-analysis. World J Urol. 2016 Jul;34(7):1009–17.
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