42-year-old man presents to ED with 2-day history of dysuria, low back pain, inability to fully empty his bladder, severe perineal pain along with fevers and chills. He says the pain is worse when he stands up and is somewhat relieved when he lies down. Vital signs T 104.0 F, pulse 138, respirations 24. PaO2 96% on room air. Digital rectal exam (DRE) reveals the prostate to be enlarged, extremely tender, swollen, and warm to touch. Purchase the answer to view it


Prostatitis is a common urological condition characterized by inflammation of the prostate gland. It can present with a variety of symptoms, including dysuria, urgency, frequency, and pelvic pain. This paper will analyze the case of a 42-year-old man who presents to the emergency department with symptoms consistent with acute bacterial prostatitis. The focus will be on understanding the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment options for this condition.


Acute bacterial prostatitis is primarily caused by ascending bacterial infection, commonly from the urethra or bladder. The most common pathogens implicated include Escherichia coli (E. coli), Proteus mirabilis, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. These bacteria gain entry into the prostate gland through the prostatic urethra, leading to infection and subsequent inflammation. Factors that contribute to this ascending infection include urinary tract infections, urethral strictures, instrumentation of the urinary tract, and anatomical abnormalities.

Once the bacteria enter the prostate gland, they trigger an inflammatory response, leading to vasodilation, increased vascular permeability, and leukocyte recruitment. This inflammatory cascade leads to the classic signs and symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis, such as pain, swelling, and tenderness of the prostate gland.

Clinical Presentation

The clinical presentation of acute bacterial prostatitis is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms. Patients often report dysuria, a sensation of incomplete bladder emptying, urinary frequency, urgency, and pelvic pain. In this case, the patient also presents with severe perineal pain, low back pain, and systemic symptoms such as fever and chills. The pain is exacerbated by standing and relieved by lying down, which could be attributed to the effect of gravity on the inflamed prostate gland. On examination, the patient’s prostate gland is found to be enlarged, extremely tender, swollen, and warm to touch during the digital rectal examination (DRE).


The diagnosis of acute bacterial prostatitis is primarily clinical, based on the patient’s history, physical examination, and laboratory findings. The patient’s history of urinary symptoms, including dysuria, urinary frequency, urgency, and pelvic pain, along with the systemic symptoms of fever and chills, is highly suggestive of acute bacterial prostatitis.

On physical examination, the finding of an enlarged, tender, swollen, and warm prostate gland on DRE further supports the diagnosis. However, it is important to differentiate acute bacterial prostatitis from other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as urinary tract infection, sexually transmitted infections, and prostatic abscess. Laboratory tests such as urinalysis and urine culture can help confirm the diagnosis and identify the causative organism. In acute bacterial prostatitis, urinalysis typically shows pyuria and bacteriuria. Urine culture is essential for identifying the specific pathogen and guiding antibiotic therapy.

Further evaluation may include imaging studies such as transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) or computed tomography (CT) scan to assess for complications or abscess formation. However, these imaging modalities are not routinely required for the diagnosis of acute bacterial prostatitis and are reserved for cases with severe symptoms or high suspicion of complications.


The mainstay of treatment for acute bacterial prostatitis is antibiotic therapy. Empiric antibiotic therapy should be initiated promptly after obtaining urine cultures to cover the most common pathogens. In cases of mild to moderate symptoms, oral antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin) or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole can be prescribed. In severe cases or those with risk factors for multidrug-resistant organisms, intravenous antibiotics such as third-generation cephalosporins or carbapenems may be necessary.

Analgesics can be used to provide symptomatic relief of pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Alpha-blockers such as tamsulosin can be considered to relieve bladder outlet obstruction and improve voiding symptoms.

Patients with severe symptoms, complications (such as prostatic abscess, urinary retention), or poor response to initial therapy may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics, supportive care, and close monitoring.