Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) Symptoms
Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) is chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome is by far the most common type of prostatitis. It is important that men recognize its signs and symptoms so they can seek treatment as soon as possible.
The chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) symptoms can be classified into three main groups: pain, urinary tract problems, and sexual problems. Of these three, the most dominant one is pain, especially, and most commonly, in the perineum, which is the area between the anus and the base of the penis. To fulfill criteria for CPPS the pain must be present for at least three months, and these chronic prostatitis symptoms may come and go rather than be persistent. They may also be accompanied by unexplained fatigue.
The pain symptoms associated with CPPS include:
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic pain or pain above the pubic bone
- Rectal pain
- Perineum pain (area between the anus and the scrotum)
- Genital pain
- Feeling like you are sitting on a tennis ball or a peach pit
- Sitting for long periods triggers or exacerbates pain and symptoms
- Pain or discomfort in the penis tip or shaft
- Testicle ache or pain
- Pain in and around the tailbone
- Groin pain that can be in either side (or both sides)
- Discomfort (or relief) after having a bowel movement
- Self-esteem problems
- Social withdrawal and problems with intimate relations
Sexual function problems are common among men who have CPPS. These sex-related symptoms can include the following:
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
- Painful ejaculation or pain after ejaculating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood in semen
- Reduced libido
- Anxiety about having sex
Other ways CPPS may affect your sex life is by making sex less enjoyable and therefore reducing your sexual frequency. While some men have pain during or after ejaculation, others actually feel better after they ejaculate.
Urinary tract problems are also a hallmark of CPPS. Men with this form of prostatitis may experience the following symptoms:
- Painful urination
- Burning sensation during urination
- Feeling like you cannot completely empty your bladder during urination
- Needing to urinate frequently (more often than every two hours)
- A strong urge to urinate immediately
- Weak urinary flow
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Dribbling or urinary incontinence
- The need to urinate keeps you from doing ordinary daily activities or from things you want to do
- Hesitancy before or during urination
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible for an examination to determine if you have CPPS. A prompt diagnosis and treatment of CPPS are critical, as this form of prostatitis is a challenge to treat and requires specific treatment modalities combining alternative and natural therapies.
Chronic pelvic pain syndrome may be the most common type of prostatitis, but it is the hardest to diagnose and treat. So many men are misdiagnosed with other similar conditions to prostatitis, such as an enlarged prostate (BPH). Doctors don’t really know what causes prostatitis symptoms and CPPS. Some theories about CPPS causes include an abnormal buildup of pressure in the urinary tract, irritation resulting from an autoimmune or chemical process, food intolerance, trauma, or pain generated in the nerves and muscles within the pelvis such as a pelvic floor spasm resulting from a chronic tension disorder. It is estimated that 50% of the cases of CPPS are from a tension in the pelvic floor.
Diagnosing CPPS is challenging because tests don’t usually find bacteria, and antibiotics do not work for CPPS, but do not despair. There are a few systems, such as UPOINT and the National Institute of Health’s Chronic Prostatitis Symptoms Index (CPSI), that your doctor can use to determine how severe your symptoms are and which treatments will work best for your specific symptoms. Your doctor may also be able to detect if muscle tension is the cause of your prostatitis symptoms when performing a digital rectal exam as part of diagnosing prostatitis.
You may find the best relief from CPPS in complementary and alternative prostatitis treatments. Such treatments include quercetin and pollen supplements, stress management, trigger point therapy, prostate massage, and many other natural therapies that have helped other CPPS sufferers. Other men may have dietary causes of their CPPS symptoms so they learn to avoid foods that trigger their symptoms. Keep in mind that you will most likely need to approach CPPS with several different treatment plans and lifestyle changes to get relief from your prostatitis symptoms.