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Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS) 

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is ongoing pain in the area of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It sits just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The urethra is the tube that takes urine and semen out of the body. CP/CPPS is the most common form of pain of the gland. It is also known as nonbacterial prostatitis. Symptoms such as pain and trouble urinating may come and go. 

Image of bladder, prostate, and urethra

Causes of CP/CPPS

The exact cause of CP/CPPS isn’t known. It may be caused by an infection that comes back again and again. It may be caused by inflammation of the gland. Muscle spasms in the pelvis may be a cause. Other causes of CP/CPPS may include:

  • Stress that tightens the pelvic muscles

  • Urine flowing back up into the prostate ducts

  • Not ejaculating often

In many cases, the cause isn’t clear.

Symptoms of CP/CPPS

Some men don’t have symptoms. Or, they may have symptoms that come and go. The symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the genitals and pelvic area

  • Trouble urinating

  • Pain while urinating

  • Pain during or after ejaculation

Diagnosing CP/CPPS

Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and your symptoms. He or she may give you a physical exam, including a rectal exam. Your urine, blood, and semen may be tested for bacteria or certain chemicals. In some cases, you may have other tests. You may have a transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy. This is done to take tiny pieces of tissue to look at with a microscope. Or, you may have imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound scan. These are done to look at your abdomen and pelvic areas.

Treating CP/CPPS

The goal of treatment is to help relieve symptoms. Treatments can include one or more of these:

  • Antibiotic medication

  • Anti-inflammatory or muscle-relaxing medications 

  • Alpha-blocker medications, which relax the muscles in and around the gland

  • Sitz baths

  • Prostate massage

  • Dietary changes

  • Biofeedback


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