Prostatitis or Pelvic Pain?

What is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis, the condition of having an inflamed prostate gland, is one of the most common diagnoses that men get when they suffer pelvic pain. According to the Prostatitis Foundation, “estimates on the number of males in the United States who will experience prostatitis during their lifetimes range up to 50 percent. Many urologic disease experts feel that from 5 to 10 percent of males will be experiencing prostatitis at a particular time, making it one of the most common urologic diseases in the U.S.”

Troublingly, this is often an inaccurate diagnosis.

Prostatitis is over-diagnosed

Prostate and Surrounding OrgansOne big problem is that different conditions can express themselves in similar ways. Prostatitis can cause sexual dysfunction, difficult and painful urination, pain in the perineum, testicles, bladder, and penis. These symptoms may also be caused by a number of other conditions as well. Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome can be caused by muscle spasms. Bladder malfunction can be caused by interstitial cystitis. Erectile dysfunction may be related to hormone or testosterone imbalances.

Yet some clinicians seem to be diagnosing prostatitis when the practitioner just doesn’t have a better answer. When there are many potential causes for pain, making the correct diagnosis becomes more difficult. As you might imagine, this can have some pretty nasty consequences. A hasty diagnosis can lead to treatments for a condition that the patient isn’t suffering from. It may not be surprising that those treatments can have negative side-effects that could have been avoided.

Since this condition can be caused by bacterial infections, antibiotics are one of the primary treatment options. One common family of antibiotics, fluoroquinolone, can have serious side effects. An FDA safety review has shown that fluoroquinolones are associated with disabling and potentially permanent serious side effects that can occur together.

According to the FDA safety announcement, “patients should contact your health care professional immediately if you experience any serious side effects while taking your fluoroquinolone medicine. Some signs and symptoms of serious side effects include tendon, joint and muscle pain, a “pins and needles” tingling or pricking sensation, confusion, and hallucinations. Patients should talk with your health care professional if you have any questions or concerns.” In other words, you only want to take these if you know they will help your pelvic pain.

So, what should you do?

If you have symptoms similar to those mentioned above, there is help and you should consult a medical professional right away. If your practitioner suggests that you may have prostatitis, double-check that the clinician has tested a sample of your urine and prostate fluid. It may also be helpful to have your level of prostate specific antigens (PSA) checked, as both prostatitis and prostate cancer can increase PSA levels.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain, you may want to go straight to the experts. Trained and certified pelvic rehabilitation practitioners may be better equipped to recognize the source of pelvic pain than a general practitioner. To find help near you, check our directory at

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