Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) affects men as well as women.
It affects men mainly between the ages of 25 and 50 years of age.
The actual number of men troubled by this condition is not really known. Often men have been told that ‘it’s all in their heads’ and they suffer in silence.
What is chronic pelvic pain syndrome?
Usually men describe discomfort or pain that is felt in the lower pelvic region. Anywhere from the base or tip of the penis, to the testicles, the tissue between the scrotum and the anus (the ‘perineum’) to around the anus.
Men can experience a range of associated symptoms such as difficulty passing urine, feeling like they need to pass urine more regularly, difficulties with getting and maintain erection or difficulty with open their bowels.
Because these concerns are of such an intimate nature, men often delay seeking treatment. Sometimes men have seen a number of practitioners with little or no improvement and despair that their situation will not improve.
Why do I have CPPS?
Sometimes it is not possible to identify a single cause or trigger. Often it is a combination of factors or events that result in CPPS. Possibilities include:
- An infection of the prostate or urethra
- An autoimmune response or inflammatory reaction in the prostate or urethra
- Increased pelvic floor muscle tension (possibly triggered by an infection or residual inflammation). Which can then affect the flow of urine down the urethra, or opening the bowels. The increased tension in the pelvic muscles can cause painful spasms in those muscles that can be worse after urinating, opening or the pains or ejaculation.
- The pelvic organs and the brain then become more sensitive to pain, causing ongoing symptoms even after the original problem has resolved.
- The pain triggers worry and anxiety about what might be wrong…
- Do I have cancer?
- Will this affect my fertility?
- Will my partner leave me if I can’t get an erection?
- ….and the cycle of pain and pelvic muscle tension increases.
Men who need to sit for most of the day tend to experience more pain. Exercise (even just walking) helps to relax the pelvic floor muscles and the mind.
Additional life stresses and worry, or a tendency to anxiety and depression can also feed into the cycle of pain and muscle tension.
Some men will also have symptoms namely:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What can be done to treat CPPS?
There is a great deal that can be done to help men with CPPS – but no single treatment will help all men.
Treatment needs to be tailored to the individual, and can take a little bit of time to work though.
A trial of antibiotics or medications to help relax the prostate gland may be started in the first instance.
The next steps may involve medications to help with nerve pain and to relax the pelvic floor muscles.
However, pelvic floor physiotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment and we encourage men to attend one of the Explain Pelvic Pain Seminars at Flex Rehabilitation Clinic in Kensington.
Go to: Explain Pelvic Pain Seminars for 2018 dates
Adelaide Pelvic Pain Network
If you would like to begin your recovery from Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome, CPPS, make an appointment to see Dr Tonia Mezzini today.
Dr Tonia Mezzini is known for offering the best possible advice and treatment options for a person’s sexual health care needs. In particular, she cares for patients with:
- Vulval pain syndromes and vulval skin conditions
- Low libido and pain with intercourse
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Gender-affirming hormone therapy
- Complex contraceptive choices
- Sexually transmitted infections such as recurrent genital herpes
- Recurrent bacterial vaginosis
- Recurrent thrush
- Menopause and hormonal concerns
- Chronic pelvic pain in men and women
- Painful periods and endometriosis
- Information about sexual health
- Women's Health after cancer treatment
- Androgen deficiency in men
For more information go to:
- The British Association of Urological Surgeons: www.baus.org.uk