It’s always heartbreaking to hear stories from men who sought medical help but couldn’t find treatment. When a patient is experiencing pain, discomfort, and loss of physical function, it is extremely daunting for them to learn that their doctor has nothing wrong with them. When these men sit in front of me, they are often desperate and depressed.
According to one study, pelvic floor dysfunction, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed and under-treated conditions in men’s health. This study found that it has a worldwide prevalence of up to one in six men “and is the most common urological disorder in men under the age of 50”. The Prostatitis Foundation says 50% of all men will have prostatitis at some point in their life. I find the most troubling statistic to be that “Symptoms can appear an average of 87 months before diagnosis”. (Smith, 2016). 87 months is more than 7 years of suffering before a man finds out what is wrong with him. No wonder these men are desperate!
This condition is often diagnosed as “prostatitis”. This is a huge umbrella term that covers a wide variety of symptoms. Real prostatitis is a bacterial infection of the prostate. According to the study above, less than 10% of cases are real prostatitis. The diagnosis is often changed to “chronic prostatitis” or even “non-bacterial chronic prostatitis”. Let me be clear, I am not critical of doctors. I recently spoke to a young doctor who recently finished his residency and asked him about his training in chronic pelvic pain syndrome. He said he had never heard of such a condition; This topic is not covered in medical training. Since doctors in medical school are not learning about this condition, it is up to us to spread it so that men can find the help they deserve.
Why is it so difficult to diagnose? Well the list of symptoms is mind blowing. Every man with chronic pelvic pain syndrome can have very different symptoms. Here is a list of what I ask our patient:
- Pain in the penis (especially at the tip), in the shaft, in the urethra, in the scrotum, after sex, with ejaculation?
- When the penis retracts, does it get smaller and harder, feels dead, weaker erections, ED?
- Pain in the perineum (bladder), in the bladder, under the belt buckle, in the lower back, in the groin, in the hips?
- Do you have decreased sensation, decreased orgasm, decreased ejaculate?
- Urination, frequency, painful urination, stop / start, thin / weak current, dripping?
- Constipation, diarrhea, incomplete emptying, frequent emptying, messy?
- Is it worse lying, sitting, standing, time of day, physical activity, stress?
If you have chronic pelvic pain – or symptoms that don’t make sense to you or your doctor, check your pelvic floor! Contact us for a free telephone consultation.