Prostatitis- bacterial - self-care
What to Expect
If you have acute prostatitis, your symptoms started quickly. After you start treatment, you may still feel ill, with fever, chills, and flushing (skin redness). It may hurt a lot when you urinate for the first few days. The fever and pain should begin improving over the first 36 hours.
If you have chronic prostatitis, your symptoms are likely to begin slowly and be less severe. Symptoms will probably improve slowly over many weeks.
Taking Your Antibiotics
It is likely you will have antibiotics to take home. Follow the directions on the bottle carefully. Take the antibiotics at the same time every day.
For acute prostatitis, antibiotics are taken for 2 to 6 weeks. Chronic prostatitis may be treated with antibiotics for 4 to 8 weeks if an infection is found.
Finish all the antibiotics, even if you start feeling better. It is harder for antibiotics to get into prostate tissue to treat the infection. Taking all of your antibiotics will reduce the chance of the condition returning.
Antibiotics may cause side effects. These include nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Report these to your health care provider. Do not just stop taking your pills.
Help With Your Symptoms
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may help with pain or discomfort. Ask your provider if you can take these.
Warm baths may relieve some of your perineal (the area between the scrotum and anus) and lower back pain.
Avoid substances that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, citrus juices, and acidic or spicy foods.
Drink plenty of fluids, 64 or more ounces (2 or more liters) per day, if your provider says this is OK. This helps flush bacteria from the bladder. It can also help prevent constipation.
To reduce discomfort with bowel movements, you may also:
- Get some exercise every day. Start slowly and build up at least 30 minutes a day.
- Eat foods with high fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Try stool softeners or fiber supplements.
See your provider for an exam after you finish taking antibiotics to make sure that the infection is gone.
If you do not improve or you are having problems with your treatment, talk to your provider sooner.
When to Call the Doctor
Contact your provider if:
- You are unable to pass urine at all, or it is very difficult to pass urine.
- Fever, chills, or pain do not begin to improve after 36 hours, or they are getting worse.
McGowan CC. Prostatitis, epididymitis, and orchitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 110.
Pontari M. Inflammatory and pain conditions of the male genitourinary tract: prostatitis and related pain conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 56.
Yaqoob MM, Ashman N. Kidney and urinary tract disease. In: Feather A, Randall D, Waterhouse M, eds. Kumar and Clarke's Clinical Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 36.
Last reviewed on: 7/1/2023
Reviewed by: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.