Dealing with the Pain of Prostatitis
Dealing with the pain of prostatitis is for many men the main reason they seek treatment. Having an ongoing chronic pain condition such as chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) can be devastating to a man and can really affect his quality of life.
There are many treatments that can help you in dealing with your pain, but you may be surprised to learn that they extend well beyond pain medication and conventional medicine. The most successful pain relief for prostatitis comes from whole-body approaches that not only relieve your pain but can also locate and treat the source of what is triggering that pain.
Many chronic prostatitis causes stem from problems that take place outside of the prostate and elsewhere in the body. About 50% of CP/CPPS cases are caused by tension in the pelvic floor muscles and can even stem from stress and emotional health problems, pelvic floor disorders, chronic tension disorders, and inflammation from other places in the body. Immune disorders and allergies (such as food intolerances) also play a role, and that is why a well-rounded whole-body approach to diagnosis and treatment can help CPPS patients to reduce inflammation.
A Whole-Body Approach to Treating Pelvic Pain
One multimodal holistic approach to CP/CPPS is Dr. Geo’s “NPAT” Treatment Program for Prostatitis. The program recognizes that pain and chronic pelvic discomfort are grounded in a patient’s lifestyle, diet, nutrition, and other factors that lie outside the prostate that may contribute to chronic tension. Treatments are individualized and include several natural and alternative therapies.
NPAT stands for:
- Natural treatments (ALCAT, elimination diets, and wheat-free diets)
- Phytotherapy (pollen and quercetin together with probiotics)
- Alternative treatments (acupuncture, prostate massage, pelvic rehabilitation and therapy)
- Total body (exercise, chronic stress management, lifestyle)
The NPAT treatment program was developed by Dr. Geo Espinosa, a naturopathic urologist. Dr. Espinosa is the Director of the Integrative Urology Center and the former Director of Clinical Trials at Columbia University. Dr. Geo maintains a full time naturopathic urology practice that is 100% focused on treating men’s prostate health disorders.
How the NPAT program works is a health care provider analyzes each patient’s symptoms to form a complete treatment individualized program that uses acupuncture, pelvic rehabilitation and therapy, trigger point release, phytotherapy (quercetin and pollen extracts), stress management, and other natural remedies, depending on the patient’s symptoms.
Types of Pain Relief
Once you know what is causing your pain (pelvic tension, stress, anxiety, diet, infection, or other) you can focus your efforts on solving that problem. Diagnosis though the UPOINT system is one way that can help you and your doctor target your prostatitis symptoms and focus your treatment by using methods that work for those specific domains.
The UPOINT system, which is a diagnostic method used by many doctors to determine a customized treatment program for prostatitis, often recommends managing organ specific pain with phytotherapy.
Phytotherapy is a natural treatment that involves using pollen extracts, quercetin, and probiotics. The powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin and pollen extracts have proven effective in multiple studies to help in dealing with the pain of prostatitis and helping improve a man’s quality of life, which is why it is recommended as part of both the UPOINT and NPAT programs. Probiotics are important because they help balance and maintain healthy levels beneficial bacterial in your body. They are particularly helpful in helping you regain your intestinal and urinary health if you have been prescribed antibiotics in the course of treating prostatitis, as many men have.
There are many alternative pain relief methods that do not cause any side effects, and the nice thing about these kinds of treatment is that many of them complement other treatment methods. There are simple pain treatments that you can do yourself like taking sitz baths, applying ice packs or heat, and even using pillows or cushions when you sit to relieve the pain and pressure. Other methods that help relieve pain include acupuncture, heat therapy, and biofeedback therapy.
Many men notice that certain foods make their prostatitis pain and inflammation worse, so looking at your diet, trying a wheat-free diet, and learning what foods to avoid for prostatitis are important parts of dealing with the pain. There are also chemicals that can cause prostatitis, and learning to avoid these sources can help as well.
As mentioned, about half of the CP/CPPS cases are due to pelvic tension. There are many causes of this tension and ways to treat this as well. Treatments that help with trigger points and tight pelvic muscles include trigger point therapy, physiotherapy, and pelvic floor rehabilitation. Some require the use of a therapist, and some you can learn to do at home. Acupuncture may help you relax and relieve pain as well.
Pelvic tension is often related to psychological health, so any well-rounded treatment program for pelvic pain and tension will consider your mental health. Stress and anxiety can trigger tension in the pelvic floor. That is why stress management for prostatitis can help CP/CPPS sufferers by lowering stress and anxiety. Yoga, tai chi, and exercise may be effective. Meditation has been shown to have lasting positive benefits in stress relief that increase with practice, and it is something you can learn to do at home or anywhere.
Dealing with the pain of a long-term chronic condition like CP/CPPS can increase your stress, anxiety, depression, or feelings of hopelessness. These can all increase your pain level, so it is important to find support. Being able to find social support from family, friends or even a support group is a good start. You may also need help from a therapist.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for prostatitis can help you eliminate negative thinking and gain a positive outlook and a proactive plan for dealing with your problems. Addressing the mental component of your CP/CPPS is important to your all-over health.
There are some medications that can help in dealing with the pain of prostatitis if you have tried other options that are not working for you. You should only turn to these drugs as a last resort. There are anti-inflammatory drugs, but they are not recommended for long-term use. Some anti-depressives and gabapentinoids can help with certain kinds of pain, such as neuropathic pain. Muscle relaxants are sometimes prescribed as well. It is important to research any medications before using them, because many of the drugs used for prostatitis pain have some serious side effects that may create more health problems for you. They treat the pain but not the cause of the pain, so they may not be as effective long-term as some of the treatments in a whole-body approach. Other last-resort treatments such as surgery for prostatitis and other medical treatments for prostatitis are available if you have tried everything and cannot find relief.
Before turning to medication or more invasive treatments for dealing with the pain of prostatitis, it is important to try all kinds of natural and alternative treatments as well as lifestyle changes. Exercise, weight loss, and cleaning up your diet can have a powerful effect on your pelvic pain. Managing your stress and anxiety can have many more health benefits than just pain relief. And using supplements such as pollen and quercetin may be as effective as using medications without the side effects. Do your best to maintain a positive attitude while seeking treatment for pain, and consider the health of your entire body when seeking ways to relieve your prostatitis pain.