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 pelvic pain is usually caused by prostatitis - swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland.

Though men may have chronic pelvic pain from other disorders, such as urinary dysfunction or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), prostatitis is the only male-specific cause of pelvic pain. While a bacterial infection is a common cause of prostatitis, the cause of male pelvic pain associated with prostatitis often remains unknown.

When a bacterial infection is not the cause of chronic pelvic pain caused by prostatis, the condition is known by several names:

  • chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS)
  • prostatodynia (painful prostate)
  • abacterial prostatitis

Chronic prostatitis is common, affecting up to 10 percent of adult men.

What Are the Symptoms of Male Pelvic Pain?

According to the Mayo Clinic, men 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 of 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)
  • 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.

If the cause is found to be bacterial, antibiotics will be prescribed.

Bacteria is found in prostatic fluid in around 10 percent of prostatitis cases.

Because many cases of prostatitis result from an unknown cause, finding treatment that provides relief can take time.

Unfortunately, male pelvic 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 to male pelvic pain caused by prostatitis include:

  • sacral nerve stimulation (also used for urinary incontinence)
  • prostatic massage
  • surgical procedures to assess for and remove potential obstructions
  • acupuncture
  • nutritional supplements, such as saw palmetto and pollen extract
  • biofeedback
  • behavioral counseling to help with depression and lowered quality of life
  • physical therapy
  • sitz baths

Your Prognosis

Unfortunately, many men with pelvic pain caused by prostatitis do not find relief, 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.


Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. UpToDate. July 30, 2015.

Prostatitis Symptoms. Mayo Clinic. March 4, 2014.

Alexander R.B., et al. Treating Men with Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Annals of Internal Medicine. 19 October 2004. Volume 141, Issue 8 Page I-8.

Capodice, J.L, et al. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2005 December; 2(4): 495–501.

The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. Prostatitis (Prostatodynia).

National Pain Foundation. Pelvic Pain: Causes.

Wagenlehner F.M.E., et al. Prostatitis and Male Pelvic Pain Syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment. Deutsches Arzteblatt International. 2009 March; 106(11): 175–183.

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