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Can IBS Cause Prostate Problems?

Published date: September 23, 2022 | Modified date:
by Dr Stephen Wangen

It may seem strange to ask this question, “Can IBS cause prostate problems?”  However, these two areas are in fact more closely related than you may think. 

The Connection Between IBS and Prostatitis

The prostate and the colon are in direct contact with each other. As you may be reluctant to recall, the doctor examines your prostate from within your rectum. The prostate is not inside the rectum, but it is immediately next to the rectum, and therefore it can be felt through the wall of the rectum. This is why the doctor may perform a digital rectal exam of your prostate. 

The extremely close proximity of the two organs means that inflammation in one organ may impact the other organ, and sometimes it’s even difficult to tell which area is the primary culprit of your discomfort. But IBS can cause prostate problems, and for more information about IBS, visit our page on What Is IBS. We’ll focus on the prostate here. 

Can prostate issues cause bowel problems? 

Problems in the prostate can impact the bowel, and problems in the colon/rectum such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may impact the prostate. A significant connection between the two has been established in a recent study.  It’s important to understand this relationship so that you can properly address issues in each area. 

IBS and Chronic Prostatitis

IBS may lead to chronic prostatitis, which can mimic IBS, it may even trigger IBS symptoms. This can be particularly challenging because both conditions require specialized care, and you may not feel much relief until both conditions are resolved. 

prostatitis visual

It is possible to have both IBS and prostatitis at the same time, even if one isn’t necessarily causing the other. Keep this in mind when you are having symptoms of both.

IBS and Prostatitis Symptoms

The symptoms of prostatitis primarily involve urination, but they can also involve the abdomen and the rectum.  You may have pain or burning when you urinate, difficulty urinating such as a slow stream, frequent urination (often at night), the urgent need to urinate, cloudy urine, or blood in the urine. 

Prostatitis can also cause abdominal pain, low back pain, groin pain, rectal pain, and even testicular pain. It can cause painful ejaculation. During acute episodes of prostatitis, you may have a fever, chills, muscle aches, and flu-like symptoms.  The above are all symptoms of prostatitis. Of course, if you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor.

Likewise, IBS can cause abdominal pain, low back pain, or rectal pain. For more information about the symptoms of IBS, visit our page on IBS Symptoms.

Can Prostatitis Cause Constipation?

Constipation can affect your prostate because it’s putting pressure directly on your prostate. And chronic irritation like severe constipation may contribute to an inflamed prostate (prostatitis).  The reverse is also true. An enlarged prostate can cause constipation because it’s taking up space in the rectum. 

Treating Prostatitis and IBS

Treatment for prostatitis varies depending on the cause. What causes prostate issues?  There are bacterial infections, viral causes, neurological causes, immune causes, hormonal causes, and stress can cause prostate issues. 

The same is true for IBS. There are many different causes for IBS, and an IBS specialist (not your gastroenterologist) will do specialized IBS testing that you are unlikely to get anywhere else, and will help you sort through the myriad of causes to determine the proper treatment and help you resolve your IBS. 

IBS and Prostate Cancer

IBS does not cause prostate cancer, but prostate cancer can cause IBS. Mild and early detected prostate cancer does not usually impact the bowel or cause IBS, but prostate cancer that has progressed to the later stages may impact the rectum due to the close proximity of these two areas. 

Another and more common connection between prostate cancer and IBS is the treatment of cancer. Treatment for prostate cancer may involve radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. Any of these treatments or procedures can and often do impact the rectum, triggering inflammation and irritation that can lead to IBS.  

At the IBS Treatment Center, we have seen many patients who are suffering from IBS post-cancer treatment.  This type of IBS requires special care and may not resolve until seen by an IBS specialist. IBS can cause prostate problems. The prostate can cause IBS problems. Do you have any symptoms that you suspect are related to your prostate or IBS?