If you are a man, and you suffer from chronic pelvic pain, expect your doctor to run a series of tests before your treatment begins.
Prostate Pain Caused by Bacterial Prostatitis
The usual treatment for chronic bacterial prostatitis is a regimen of four to six weeks of strong antibiotics. Sometimes severe chronic cases may be treated with additional antibiotic medications for up to six months after this initial regimen.
Antibiotic treatment for bacterial prostatitis is often combined with other medications to relieve prostate pain and other related symptoms. These include:
- Muscle relaxants, such as Flexeril (to relax pelvic floor spasms)
- Alpha blockers, such as Flomax
Severe cases of chronic bacterial prostatitis may require surgical intervention, such as a transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP. A radical prostatectomy may also be considered. If you have prostate pain caused by bacterial prostatitis, don’t panic: Surgery is usually a last resort.
Prostate Pain that Causes Chronic Pelvic Pain
The cause of male chronic pelvic pain that is not bacterial in nature is often hard to pinpoint. This can make treating this form of prostate pain in men challenging. Your medical provider will first be sure that there are no other explanations for your pain, by taking a medical history, physical exam and perhaps basic laboratory tets. If chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvis pain syndrome is suspected, some potential treatments for this type of male pelvic pain include:
- Alpha blockers, only if not previously used for prostate pain treatment. These are often taken for a period of six months. Studies have shown variable success.
- Muscle relaxants, to relax the pelvic floor if spasms are a problem.
- Botulinum Toxin A injections to the prostate (currently being researched).
- Fluoroquinolones, or other antibiotics, may be used to rule out a bacterial cause in people who are either newly diagnosed, or have never tried antibiotic therapy for prostate pain. If not effective in the short-term, they are usually discontinued.
- NSAIDs, to decrease the potential for prostate swelling.
- Anticholinergic drugs, such as Oxybutynin to address urinary urgency and frequency associated with prostate pain.
Complimentary Treatments for Prostate Pain
- Bio-feedback. Bio-feedback is a method of recording the body’s response to actions, often recording the effects on blood pressure and muscle tension. It's use in men with prostate pain is aimed at teaching them to control the muscles that allow urination.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used in an attempt to treat both prostate pain, and to decrease prostate swelling.
- Electrical stimulation applied to the urethral and anal area is currently being studied for its potential to control prostate pain.
- Dietary supplements. Saw palmetto, pollen extract and quercetin are all being studies for treatment of chronic prostatitis symptoms, and may potentially play a role in controlling prostate pain. Previous data has been lacking, however.
Research is limited on complimentary and alternative therapies for prostate pain. As always, before initiating any complimentary or alternative treatments, talk to your doctor.
Coping with Prostate Pain
Waiting until you find a treatment that works for you can be very frustrating. When you are living day to day with prostate pain, things can get tough. If you are having trouble coping with prostate pain, check out the following articles.
Sometimes talking about it helps too. Check out the chronic pain forum, and link up with others who are going through the same thing.
Capodice Jillian L et al. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2005 December; 2(4): 495–501
The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. Prostatitis (Prostatodynia). Accessed 7/22/09. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec17/ch240/ch240c.html
Wagenlehner Florian ME, et al. Prostatitis and Male Pelvic Pain Syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment. Deutsches Arzteblatt International. 2009 March; 106(11): 175–183