ZocdocAnswersWhat is a prostate abcess?

Question

What is a prostate abcess?

I'm a 56 year old man and I was having a bunch of problems with my genitals and with urination, so my doctor began treating me for bacterial prostatitis. I 'm not getting better. Now he says it might be an abscess on my prostate. What does this mean? What's the treatment if it's an abscess and why couldn't he tell the difference before?

Answer

A prostate abscess is a serious medical condition. I strongly encourage you to discuss this with your primary doctor. In addition, a urologist (a genitourinary specialist) maybe of help for your troubles. Bacterial prostatitis is a condition where bacteria infect the prostate. The prostate, as you know, is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system. Unfortunately, the prostate is no easily accessible or viewable as it is located in the pelvis. The best way to assess is through the rectum. Therefore, when someone has pain and infectious systems in the area of the prostate, the doctor will assume it is bacterial prostatitis and start antibiotics. An abscess is when an infection forms a ball within the organ (in this case in the prostate). This ball walls itself off from the rest of the organ and therefore protects itself from the antibiotics in the blood stream. This can occur if the prostatitis is not treated early enough or simply if there is a more aggressive bacteria. If this occurs then the antibiotic treatment will not work. Therefore after the antibiotic regimen fails, the doctor will often worry about an abscess. The only way to diagnose the abscess is to directly view the prostate--often by an ultrasound through the rectum. It is hard to diagnose an abscess unless the antibiotics fail to treat the bacterial prostatitis. The treatment for an abscess is often drainage (that is, putting a needle in it). This an occur through the rectum or through the urethra. Longer antibiotic courses are also needed. Talk to your doctor for more information.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.