Prostate Pain

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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What is prostate pain?

Prostate pain is any pain or discomfort of the prostate gland. The prostate gland wraps around the tube that transports urine out of the bladder and is involved in the production of semen. Prostate pain can occur as a result of a number of diseases or disorders.

It is very common for the prostate gland to become enlarged as a man ages. An enlarged prostate is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is generally not associated with any prostate pain. However, an enlarged prostate can cause problems with urination.

Another reason for prostate pain is prostatitis, an infection of the prostate that is often caused by bacteria. Symptoms of prostatitis may vary from person to person, but general symptoms include burning with urination, the inability to empty the bladder completely, and painful urination.

The presence of a cyst or abscess in the prostate can also cause prostate pain. A cyst is a benign sac that contains fluid, air, or another material. An abscess is a collection of pus that causes swelling and inflammation. Prostate pain can sometimes be associated with advanced prostate cancer.

Prostate pain that is related to acute prostatitis can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), the inability to urinate, or severe pain in the lower back and genital area.

If your prostate pain is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

What other symptoms might occur with prostate pain?

Prostate pain may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the urinary tract may also involve other body systems.

Urinary tract symptoms that may occur along with prostate pain

    Prostate pain symptoms may accompany other symptoms affecting the urinary tract including:

    • Bloody ejaculate (hematospermia)
    • Cloudy urine
    • Difficult or painful urination, or burning with urination (dysuria)
    • Foul-smelling urine
    • Frequent urination
    • Frequent urination that often produces only a small amount of urine
    • Inability to fully empty bladder
    • Urgent need to urinate

      Other symptoms that may occur along with prostate pain

      Prostate pain may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including:

      Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

      In some cases, prostate pain may be a symptom of a life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

      • Abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain that can be severe
      • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
      • Inability to urinate

      What causes prostate pain?

      The causes of prostate pain will vary depending on the underlying disease or disorder.

      Common causes of prostate pain

      Prostate pain may be caused by common prostate disorders including:

      Urinary tract causes of prostate pain

      Prostate pain can also be caused by common urinary tract disorders including:

      Serious or life-threatening causes of prostate pain

      In some cases, prostate pain may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These include:

      • Acute prostatitis
      • Pelvic trauma

      Questions for diagnosing the cause of prostate pain

      To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your prostate pain including:

      • When did you first notice your prostate pain?
      • How long have you experienced prostate pain?
      • Is the pain consistent?
      • Do you have other symptoms, such as abdominal pain?
      • Are you having difficulties with urination?
      • What medications are you taking?
      • Have you experienced any trauma to the area?

      What are the potential complications of prostate pain?

      Complications of prostate pain will depend on the underlying reason for the pain. Because prostate pain can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

      • Infertility
      • Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
      • Severe discomfort or pain
      • Spread of cancer
      • Spread of infection
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      Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
      Last Review Date: 2021 Jan 16
      View All Men's Health Articles
      THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
      1. Prostatitis: disorders of the prostate. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC). http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/prostatitis/.
      2. Prostate problems. National Institute on Aging Age Page. http://www.nia.nih.gov/healthinformation/publications/prostate.htm.
      3. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.
      4. Lipsky BA, Byren I, Hoey CT. Treatment of bacterial prostatitis. Clin Infect Dis 2010; 50:1641.