Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome is defined as pain in a man’s pelvic region. This is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90% of reported cases. The condition is marked by urinary and genital pain for at least three to six months and is most common among middle-aged men. If left untreated, it can lead to serious sexual and urinary problems.
What causes chronic nonbacterial prostatitis?
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis accounts for the majority of prostatitis cases in the United States, but the exact cause is unknown. Doctors have however been able to identify several potential causes for the disease, including:
- past bacterial infection in the prostate
- bacteria that are nontypical (resistant to antibiotics)
- irritation caused by backup of urine into the prostate gland
- chemical irritation
- problem with the nerves in the lower urinary tract
What are the symptoms?
Men with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis can experience chronic discomfort or pain in the groin, genitals, perineum (the area between the anus and the genitals), or bladder. In addition, symptoms may manifest and go away on their own. Other symptoms of the disease include:
- blood in the urine or semen
- pain or burning with urination
- pain with bowel movement
- pain with ejaculation
- pain in the lower back, above the pubic bone, between the genitals and anus, the tip of the penis, and the urethra
- difficulty or straining to urinate
- frequent or urgent need to urinate
How is chronic nonbacterial prostatitis diagnosed?
Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to other medical conditions. Men will usually undergo a digital rectal exam (DRE), during which their doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum. By doing this, the doctor can feel for any signs of inflammation or any abnormalities in the prostate gland. Doctors may also analyze urine and prostatic fluid. In some cases, blood tests, ultrasounds, MRIs, or biopsies are ordered to rule out any other possible conditions.
How is it treated?
Treating chronic nonbacterial prostatitis is difficult, and is typically hard to cure. Some men however do respond well to treatment. In some cases, symptoms can return and may last for a long time. Treatment methods generally focus on managing symptoms to reduce pain and discomfort. Common treatments include:
- medications to relax the prostate muscles called alpha-adrenergic blockers
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen to reduce swelling
- stool softeners to prevent constipation