Prostatitis, or prostate infection, is usually caused by bacteria, but a
nonbacterial form of the disease also exists. Prostatitis is the most common
genitourinary ailment in men younger than age 50, but the bacterial form occurs
most often in men age 70 and older. If left untreated, infection can spread to
the testicles and epididymis (tubules in back of the testis) and, in severe
cases, destroy the prostate gland.
Signs and Symptoms
Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Frequent and urgent urination
Difficult or painful urination
Urinating at night
Generalized sense of ill health
Pain in the lower back, pelvis, or perineum (lining of the pelvic
What Causes It?
Risk factors for prostatitis include the following.
Recent urinary tract infection
Prior sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or
Excess alcohol consumption
What to Expect at Your Provider's Office
Your health care provider will do a physical examination of the prostate and
use laboratory tests, such as urinalysis or blood cultures.
Several antibiotics and other drugs are used to treat prostatitis. They are
usually given orally, except in cases of sudden and severe prostatitis, which
may require intravenous administration. The treatments may last 4 to 12 weeks,
depending on how severe the infection is. Stool softeners, anti-inflammatory
agents (such as ibuprofen), and hot sitz baths may also relieve
If fever and pain persist, you may need surgery.
Complementary and Alternative
Vitamin C (250 to 500 mg two times a day)
Zinc (60 mg a day) has been shown to reduce the size of the
Selenium (200 mcg a day) is an antioxidant concentrated in the
Essential fatty acids (1,000 to 1,500 mg one to two times a day) are
anti-inflammatory for optimum prostaglandin concentrations.
Pumpkin seeds have been used historically for a healthy
Avoid simple sugars, alcohol (especially beer), and coffee; drink
plenty of water (48 oz. a day).
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites
(glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Teas should be made with
1 tsp. herb per 1 cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or
flowers, or 10 to 20 minutes for roots.
Studies show saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may be as effective as
Proscar (a common prostate medication). Dose of 160 mg twice a day is difficult
to achieve in tea or tincture; extract standardized for 85 to 95 percent of
fatty acids and sterols is recommended.
Cernilton, a flower pollen extract (500 to 1,000 mg two to three times a
day), has been used extensively in Europe to treat prostatitis caused by
inflammation or infection. It also has a contractile effect on the bladder and
relaxes the urethra.
Take a combination of the above herbs (1 cup tea or 60 drops tincture) three
times a day.
Some of the most common remedies used for prostatitis are listed below.
Usually, the dose is 3 to 5 pellets of a 12X to 30C remedy every one to four
hours until your symptoms get better.
Chimaphila umbellata for retention of urine with an enlarged
Pulsatilla for pain after urination, especially involuntary
Pareira for painful urination, especially with painful
Lycopodium for painful urination with reddish sediment in the
urine, especially with impotence
Thuja specifically if there is a forked stream of
Kegel exercises increase pelvic circulation and improve muscle tone.
Contrast sitz baths: You will need two basins that you can comfortably sit
in. Fill one basin with hot water, one with cold water. Sit in hot water for
three minutes, then in cold water for one minute. Repeat this three times to
complete one set. Do one to two sets a day, three to four days a
May improve urinary flow and decrease swelling and
May help reduce symptoms. Focus may be on the lower abdominal area, lower
back, and around the sacrum.
Be sure you follow your health care provider's instructions for treatment and
keep using the treatment as directed even if you start to feel
Men should have a yearly prostate examination after age 40, even if they have
no symptoms of prostate problems. In recurring cases, you may need ongoing
treatment with periodic checkups.
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Publishers; 1995:52, 128, 203.
Berkow R, ed. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 16th ed.
Rahway, NJ: The Merck Publishing Group; 1992.
Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic
Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, Mass: Integrative Medicine
Communications; 1998:75, 201.
Buck AC, Rees RWM, Ebeling L. Treatment of chronic prostatitis and
prostadynia with pollen extract. Br J Urol. 1989;64:496-499.
Carr AC, Frei B. Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C
based on antioxidant and health effects in humans. Am J Clin Nutr.
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the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse
of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage
to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or
otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents
of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds
currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a
guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information
provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare
practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts)
regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications
before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed