Prevalence of a physician-assigned diagnosis of prostatitis: the Olmsted County Study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status Among Men

Urology. 1998 Apr;51(4):578-84. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(98)00034-x.


Objectives: To describe the occurrence of a physician-assigned diagnosis of prostatitis in a community-based cohort.

Methods: A sampling frame of all Olmsted County, Minnesota, male residents was used to randomly select a cohort of men between 40 and 79 years old by January 1, 1990, to participate in a longitudinal study of lower urinary tract symptoms. The 2115 participants (response rate 55%) completed a previously validated self-administered questionnaire that assessed the prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms, including a history of prostatitis. Subsequently, all inpatient and outpatient community medical records of participants were reviewed retrospectively for a physician-assigned diagnosis of prostatitis from the date of initiation of the medical record through the date of the last follow-up.

Results: The overall prevalence rate of a physician-assigned diagnosis of prostatitis was 9%. Men identified with the diagnosis of "prostatitis" had symptoms of dysuria and frequency and rectal, perineal, suprapubic, and lower back pain. Among men with a previous diagnosis of prostatitis, the cumulative probability of subsequent episodes of prostatitis was much higher (20%, 38%, and 50% among men 40, 60, and 80 years old, respectively).

Conclusions: These findings indicate that the community-based prevalence of a physician-assigned diagnosis of prostatitis is high, of similar magnitude to that of ischemic heart disease and diabetes. Furthermore, once a man has an initial episode of prostatitis, he is more likely to suffer chronic episodes than men without a diagnosis. Although the pathologic mechanisms underlying these diagnoses are not certain, these data provide a first step toward understanding how frequently the diagnosis occurs in the community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prostatitis / diagnosis*
  • Prostatitis / epidemiology