bambooChronic Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome

Men with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS), or Chronic Prostatitis Category III, suffer from pelvic pain, painful, frequent, urgent, or difficult urination, as well as sexual dysfunction. The pain can be intense or dull and is generally located on the pelvic floor, in the genitals, lower back, or the lower abdomen. These symptoms can be severe and affect all aspects of your life, resulting in depression, lost work and educational opportunities, and trouble in relationships.

I have treated many people with pelvic pain during my 15 years in acupuncture practice. I have also written numerous papers and articles on acupuncture for chronic pelvic pain.

Acupuncture for Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide a holistic approach to healing and are effective treatments to relieve the pain, improve sexual function, and decrease urinary problems associated with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Acupuncture is a natural treatment with very few side effects.

In fact, Chinese medicine’s 2000 years of history could possibly make it the most used treatment for Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome of all time. In one of Chinese medicine’s earliest text called Elementary Questions, TCM has described the diagnosis and treatment many syndromes characterized by painful, frequent, and urgent urination with pain and distention of the lower abdomen and pelvis (3).

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment, identifying specific imbalances in the body and using acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and acupressure to correct them. We will consider symptoms of pain, urinary changes, sexual dysfunction, as well as digestion, energy, sleep are all factored into identifying the cause of the issues.  Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body.

Acupuncture can help and has been shown to relief pain in men with Chronic pelvic pain. I have helped many people with chronic pelvic pain through acupuncture and electroacupuncture therapies.

What Causes Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome?

The exact cause of Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome is not entirely understood. Prostatitis was originally thought to be caused by inflammation caused by a bacterial infection. But most men have symptoms without an infection. Some men who have CPPS symptoms do not even have any inflammation.

Many, including myself, believe that CPPS is caused by referred pain from muscle tightness and trigger points in the pelvis and back that is related to emotional stress. In some people, inflammation and stress after an infection can lead to chronic pelvic pain.

Most patients have pelvic pain stemming from muscle tightness in the pelvis, pelvic floor, back, abdomen, and legs.  The gluteus maximus and medius, adductor magnus, and illopsoas are among the most common muscles which refer pain to the pelvic floor.  In addition, sacro-iliac joint dysfunction is very commonly a cause.  Other factors may include contracture of smooth muscle of the bladder, emotional stress, and possible inflammation after an infection (2).

How does acupuncture help treat Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome?

Treating CPPS requires a holistic approach addressing that naturally corrects the underlying cause of the pain and distress.  Acupuncture provides a holistic approach to healing and are effective treatments to relieve the pain, improve sexual function, and decrease urinary problems, as well as relief depression associated with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Research has shown that acupuncture is effective for reducing pain in CPPS. Acupuncture also has very few side effects.

Physiological, acupuncture works to reduce pain and inflammation through regulating neural pain pathways, stimulating the release of natural pain relievers in the body, such as opioids, as well as regulating pain relieving opioid receptors. Many studies have also shown acupuncture to have a anti-inflammatory effect, reducing the circulating inflammatory hormones in the blood (4).

What is the Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treatment like for Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome?

Chinese medicine works best as a combination therapy that includes acupuncture, tui na (acupressure), and other therapies such as cupping.   Chinese herbs are also effective and may be required for certain people. Acupuncture diagnosis and treatment focuses on identifying the specific root imbalance causing the condition and tailoring the treatment for you.

During the first visit, I will complete a medical history and an in depth physical examination, which focuses on an examination of acupuncture points and trigger points in the muscles. This information creates the picture of the specific imbalance causing the problem.

Acupuncture is most effective through a treatment course.  The treatment should decrease pain and urinary complaints, and improvement in sexual function. Many people find rapid relief, within about a month of beginning the treatment. For others, it may take longer to have an effect. Generally, patients come in for acupuncture once to twice a week depending on the severity, and gradually get acupuncture less frequently.  The treatment generally lasts 3-4 months.

The pain and other symptoms are gradually lessened. It is like peeling off the layers of an onion until you correct the root cause of the problem.   The results are usually long lasting and patents have few symptoms.

What is a usual treatment course?

During the first visit, I will complete a medical history and an in depth physical examination, which focuses on an examination of acupuncture points and trigger points of the lower back, abdomen, hips, and pelvis. This information creates the picture of the specific imbalance causing the problem.

Often, men will have significant reduction in pain within a few weeks of treatment.  The full treatment normally lasts 3-4 months. It is like peeling off the layers of an onion until you correct the root cause of the problem.  Throughout the course of treatment we discuss stretches and techniques to maintain health and prevent flare ups.