The researchers noted that the role of antibiotics was unclear, since infection has to be ruled out before a man is diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain syndrome. They speculated that the antibiotics might work against unrecognized germs and noted that antibiotics such as quinolones also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Chronic pelvic pain, or pain lasting three of the previous six months, can be a very debilitating condition, said Cook. Symptoms of chronic pelvic pain syndrome include pain in the pelvis, urethra or penis, back pain, trouble voiding, sexual difficulties and frequent urination.
Alpha-blockers, used to block the nerves going into the muscles of the prostate, are often prescribed along with antibiotics for the condition. If that doesn't work another antibiotic is tried. But a man with chronic pelvic pain shouldn't just keep switching around "from one antibiotic to another," Cook said.
"If the patient comes back and the treatment isn't working, it's time to rethink the diagnosis," he suggested. "It's time to start thinking outside the box."
Other conditions that can cause chronic pelvic pain include pudendal nerve entrapment (when nerves get trapped in bony canals) and compression of blood vessels in the pelvis, sometimes caused by long distance bicycle riding, Cook noted.
Calling chronic pelvic pain a "poorly understood condition," Cook said patients need to become proactive.
"It's very important that the patient be a partner with their physician," he said. "I always encourage patients to do independent research on their condition." This sometimes results in a patient helping to pinpoint what is wrong, said Cook.
As men get older the prostate grows naturally, but men sometimes develop an enlarged prostate that presses on the urethra, causing pain and interfering with urination. An enlarged prostate can be treated (shrunken) with medication.
In the study, an interna
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