What is chronic prostatitis?
The prostate is a small gland in male anatomy located between the bladder and the penis. “Prostatitis” refers to a bacterial infection of the prostate. Some people have chronic, repeated infections that cause ongoing pain and bladder symptoms. However, others have continued pain after the original infection has been treated. Some are diagnosed with prostatitis but never had a bacterial infection in the first place. These individuals are diagnosed with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome as a way to describe their collection of symptoms.
Chronic pelvic pain can occur in all people, including those with male or female anatomy. To read more about management of chronic pelvic pain symptoms, check out our article here.
What are the symptoms of chronic prostatitis?
- Over 3 months of pain in the pelvis, abdomen, genitals and/or low back
- Most experience issues related to urinary and/or sexual function.
- Tenderness of the prostate and/or pelvic floor muscles on exam
- Often occurs in people who also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, depression, and high stress.
How to treat chronic prostatitis
- Chronic prostatitis affects many aspects of life, and treatment should address these concerns. Treating symptoms and improving quality of life is the number one priority once the infection resolves.
- Although many cases begin with an acute bacterial infection, it’s unclear why some become chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Providers prescribe antibiotics as a first line treatment, and may reduce symptoms when an infection isn’t present.
- Medications and injections help, depending on the individual and their symptoms. However, we need more research about these treatments to understand who can benefit most.
- Pelvic floor physical therapy offers expert guidance in managing bladder, bowel, and sexual symptoms thatoccurs with chronic prostatitis. Behavioral strategies, lifestyle changes, and pelvic floor muscle training helps with urinary symptoms. For example, urinary urgency and frequency is a common symptom that pelvic PT can help address!