Characterizing Chronic Prostatitis
Chronic prostatitis, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) and pelvic myoneuropathy, can affect men of any age. This condition may be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Autoimmune and neurogenic inflammation are two of the factors believed to be behind this disease.
According to some scientists, CPPS is a poorly understood form of prostatitis. The symptoms of chronic prostatitis can disappear for a time and then return without warning. Men with CPPS usually feel a discomfort, or even a higher degree of pain when they sit. Recurrent urinary tract infections, lower back and testicular pain, pain and burning during urination, blood in the urine, incontinence and abnormal urine color can also manifest as symptoms of this condition.
Unlike acute prostatitis which develops suddenly and is generally caused by bacterial infection, CPPS develops gradually. It can continue for a prolonged period of time and has subtler symptoms compared with the acute form. It is more common in men aged 30 to 50 and is believed to be associated with hormonal changes accompanying aging. Lifestyle influences such as excessive alcohol drinking, certain sexual practices and perineal injury have also been implicated in the development of CPPS.
Pelvic myoneuropathy accounts for majority of diagnosed cases of prostatitis. The Stanford Protocol, a treatment which combines medications such as tricyclic antidepressant and benzodiazepines, physical therapy and psychological therapy, is often used to manage CPPS. The most commonly used psychological therapy for patients with CPPS is paradoxical relaxation, while physical therapy usually involves Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy on pelvic floor and abdominal muscles and yoga exercises.
Most scientists believe that the main trigger factor for CPPS is anxiety. Anxiety causes the pelvic area to be sensitized which results in a loop muscle tension and heightened neurological feedback. Food allergies have also been theorized as trigger factors of the condition. Some studies have reported that patients with gluten intolerance or celiac disease have shown severe symptom flares after gluten ingestion.
Although chronic prostatitis has yet to be fully characterized by scientists, several studies hinting on the nature and causes of this condition have helped alleviate some of the symptoms of patients and improve disease management.
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