Autoimmune Disorders and Prostatitis
Autoimmune disorder is a possible cause of chronic prostatitis/chronic prostatitis pain syndrome, or CP/CPPS. Auto immunity is a condition in which the body’s cells or tissues attack healthy versions of themselves. It’s as if the body “thinks” certain parts of the body are the enemy, so it launches an assault. This attack on the body can cause inflammation (as is the case with prostatitis) and other problems.
At a molecular level, autoimmunity involves a response from cells called T cells and mast cells. These two types of immune cells appear to work together to cause inflammation. At this time, not much is known about exactly how the autoimmune response may cause prostatitis. However, some experts have suggested the trigger of an autoimmune disorder may be any of the following:
- A persistent viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. In a mouse model of autoimmune disorder prostatitis, researchers have shown that a bacterial infection can trigger inflammation in the prostate that continues long after the bacteria have been killed by antibiotics.
- Trauma to the prostate or the pelvic area, including surgery (e.g., vasectomy) or a sports injury
- Genetics—a man may inherit a tendency to develop an autoimmune response
- Exposure to environmental toxins, including antibiotics
In any case, some researchers believe that the initial trigger of CP/CPPS sets off the process of inflammation. In turn, problems with the nervous system develop, which then results in pain.
Among the research into the possibility that an autoimmune disorder is a cause of chronic prostatitis is a study from 2009. The authors pointed out that “at least in some cases autoimmune response could be causative factor” in CP/CPPS. Their reason for making this statement was to also stress that if chronic prostatitis is caused by an autoimmune response, then treatments should reflect that possibility.
The role of autoimmunity in prostatitis is still uncertain, but it continues to be a topic of investigation, especially since there are similar conditions to prostatitis that are related to autoimmune diseases. Other chronic pain conditions associated with prostatitis include irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Future therapies may include antibodies to mediators of neurologic inflammation and may even include treating the bacteria in the bowel.
In the meantime, treatment may be most successful if you use multiple therapies simultaneously. Chronic prostatitis treatment programs may involve both natural prostatitis treatments, such as phytotherapy and supplements, and alternative prostatitis treatments such as acupuncture, biofeedback, trigger point release therapy, homeopathy, and stress management. Since auto immune diseases tend to follow patterns of ups and downs that seem to be connected to emotional health, taking care of your mental health may also help with an auto immune disorder that is causing prostatitis. Alternative therapies such as tai chi, yoga, and meditation may be worth looking into.