Understanding Male Pelvic Pain

Symptoms and Treatment of Pelvic Pain Caused by Prostatitis

Male pelvic pain.
Male pelvic pain. DRB Images, LLC/Getty Images

If you're a man suffering from pelvic pain, you should be aware that male this may be caused by prostatitis. This condition indicates the swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland. It can be painful and difficult to treat depending on whether the cause is known. Chronic prostatitis is common and affects up to 10 percent of adult men.

Potential Causes of Pelvic Pain in Men

Men may have chronic pelvic pain from a number of disorders, including urinary dysfunction or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

However, prostatitis is the only male-specific cause of pelvic pain. While a bacterial infection is a common cause, in many cases the cause often remains unknown.

When a bacterial infection is not the cause, the condition is known by several names including chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), prostatodynia (painful prostate), and abacterial prostatitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Male Pelvic Pain?

According to the Mayo Clinic, men with prostatitis may have any of the following pain symptoms:

  • pain or burning sensation when urinating (dysuria)
  • pain in the abdomen, groin, or lower back
  • pain in the area between the scrotum and rectum (perineum)
  • pain or discomfort in the penis or testicles
  • painful orgasms (ejaculations)

The pain or discomfort may be constant or it may come and go. Some men experience depression and a lower quality of life because of the pain.

Other symptoms associated with prostatitis include:

  • difficulty urinating, such as dribbling or hesitant urination
  • frequent urination, particularly at night (nocturia)
  • an urgent need to urinate
  • flu-like symptoms (with bacterial prostatitis)

Treating Male Pelvic Pain

There are tests for prostatitis. Your urine and the fluid that comes out of your prostate gland can be checked for signs of infection.

Bacteria is found in prostatic fluid in around 10 percent of prostatitis cases. Antibiotics are often prescribed in these cases. 

Because many cases of prostatitis result from an unknown cause, finding a treatment that provides relief can take time. Unfortunately, the pain caused by prostatitis can be difficult to treat.

Chronic male pelvic pain from prostatitis that is not bacterial in nature may be treated with any of the following medications:

Other treatment approaches you doctor may wish to try include sacral nerve stimulation — also used for urinary incontinence — or prostatic massage. Should an obstruction be suspected as the cause, surgical procedures may be used to assess this and remove any that are found.

Additionally, some men have found relief through acupuncturebiofeedback, physical therapy, or sitz baths. Your doctor may also suggest nutritional supplements, such as saw palmetto and pollen extract or behavioral counseling to help with depression and lowered quality of life

Your Prognosis

Unfortunately, many men with pelvic pain caused by prostatitis do not find relief. This is simply because the cause of their prostatitis is undetermined. Studies show that medications other than antibiotics for bacterial prostatitis often provide little long-term relief for men with this problem.

Complementary therapies for prostatitis have not been researched significantly. However, acupuncture appears to be a promising option.

Sources:

Andriole GL. Prostatitis (Prostatodynia). The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. 2016.

Mayo Clinic. Prostatitis Symptoms and Causes. 2016.

Pontari M. Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. UpToDate. 2015.

Rees J, et al. Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis and Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome: A Consensus Guideline. BJU International. 2015;116(4):509-525.

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