Diagnosing prostatitis involves ruling out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms and determining what kind of prostatitis you have. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and your symptoms. He or she will also perform a physical exam, which will likely include a digital rectal examination (DRE).
Initial diagnostic tests may include the following:
- Blood culture. Your doctor may order this test if there are signs of infection in your blood.
- Urine tests. Your doctor may want to examine samples of your urine for signs of infection. In some cases, the doctor may take a series of samples before, during and after massaging your prostate with a lubricated, gloved finger.
- Bladder tests (urodynamic tests). Your doctor may order one or more of these tests, which are used to check how well you can empty your bladder. This can help your doctor understand how much prostatitis is affecting your ability to urinate.
Based on your symptoms and test results, your doctor may conclude that you have one of the following types of prostatitis:
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- Acute bacterial prostatitis. This type of prostatitis is often caused by common strains of bacteria. It generally starts suddenly and causes flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis. Chronic bacterial prostatitis occurs when bacteria aren't eliminated by antibiotics and lead to recurring or difficult-to-treat infections. Between bouts of chronic bacterial prostatitis, you may not have symptoms or may only have minor symptoms.
- Chronic abacteria prostatitis. Also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome, this isn't caused by bacteria. Often an exact cause can't be identified. Most cases of prostatitis fall into this category. For some men, symptoms stay about the same over time. For others, the symptoms go through cycles of being more and less severe.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. This type of prostatitis doesn't cause symptoms and is usually found only by chance when you're undergoing tests for other conditions. It doesn't require treatment.
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