Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS)
Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) is also known as chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. You may also see it referred to as just chronic prostatitis (CP). Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) is officially defined as pain in a man’s pelvic region that lasts longer than three months although there are many other symptoms. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common form of prostatitis. About 90 to 95% of all cases of prostatitis fall into the category of CPPS. In fact, chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common urological problem diagnosed in men older than 50 and the third most common diagnosis among younger men, according to Medscape. It is estimated that 40% of all urological visits—2 million each year—are for chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
Some men are profoundly affected by chronic pelvic pain syndrome. When men are told that chronic pelvic pain is not life threatening, they often respond, “It may not threaten my life, but it threatens my ability to live my life and hurts my overall quality of life. I know that it may not kill me but it does affect my life.” Symptoms like chronic pelvic discomfort, pain when ejaculating, and urinary and other symptoms make CPPS a terrible disorder for a man to live with if left untreated.
This disease is frustrating and confusing for patients and doctors to diagnose and treat as there is generally no accepted medical cause of CPPS. Another interesting finding regarding CPPS is that bacteria may actually be involved in this disease, although thus far the bacteria seem to have an ability to hide or have a different effect on the prostate in men who have this disease. This is one of the reasons that most urologists generally prescribe antibiotics for CPPS as an initial treatment just in case there is bacteria that may have gone undetected during diagnosis. Modern naturopathic doctors however believe that the prescription of antibiotics for CPPS can do more harm than good when bacteria has not been identified.
So among different cases of chronic pelvic pain syndrome you may find inflammation or no inflammation, and bacterial causes or nonbacterial causes. There are many other potential chronic prostatitis causes from trauma to autoimmune disorders to food intolerance to pelvic floor disorders to chronic stress to other infections to many more potential causes. No wonder we are all baffled by this condition.
The following information is at least more specific. Like chronic bacterial prostatitis, one of the criteria for chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is that symptoms must be present for at least three months, and the symptoms also have a tendency to come and go. A distinguishing feature of chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) symptoms is the presence of unexplained chronic pelvic pain. Some men experience an improvement in symptoms over time even without treatment, while others find they need to rely on medications and drugs for pain or find other chronic prostatitis treatment options, such as prostatic massage, phototherapy and other natural and alternative treatments to find relief.
Am I at Risk?
It is important that men who have symptoms of chronic pelvic pain syndrome seek treatment, especially those who want to father children, because over time the disease can lead to infertility. As the median age of CPPS patients is 43, younger men are significantly affected. All men who have chronic pelvic pain syndrome can benefit from making lifestyle changes, such as modifications to diet and adopting stress management techniques as well as exploring other potential causes such as a pelvic disorder or chronic tension. For men who have ongoing symptoms there are many natural and alternative treatments that are available that have been proven to be effective.