Prostatitis- bacterial - self-care

You have been diagnosed with bacterial prostatitis. This is an infection that involves the prostate gland.

What to Expect

If you have acute prostatitis, your symptoms started quickly. You may still feel ill, with fever, chills, and flushing. 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 not as severe, and your symptoms began gradually. Your symptoms will probably improve slowly over many weeks.

Taking Your Antibiotics

You will likely be going home with antibiotics. Follow the directions on the bottle carefully, and try to take the antibiotics at the same time every day.

For acute prostatitis, antibiotics are taken for 4 - 6 weeks. Chronic prostatitis is treated with a longer course (6 - 12 weeks or longer) of antibiotics.

Finish the full course of antibiotic treatment. 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, such as nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Report these to your doctor. Do NOT just stop taking your pills.

Help With Your Symptoms

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may help with pain or discomfort. Ask your doctor if you can take these.

Warm baths may relieve some of your perineal and lower back pain. Avoid substances that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, citrus juices, and hot or spicy foods.

Drink plenty of fluids, 64 or more ounces per day, if your doctor says this is okay. This will help flush bacteria from the bladder and 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, vegetables.
  • Try tool softeners or fiber supplements.


See your health care 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 doctor sooner.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse 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.


Nickel JC. Inflammatory conditions of the male genitourinary tract: prostatitis and related conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 9.

Sharp VJ, Takacs EB, Powell CR. Prostatitis: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Aug 15;82(4):397-406.

Update Date: 9/27/2011

Updated by: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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