Acupuncture controls chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain

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March 3, 2007  
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CM NEWS – Researchers have shown in a recent study that acupuncture is effective in alleviating the severity of pain in patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

What is chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome? CP/CPPS occurs in men and is characterized by persistent discomfort or pain in the pelvic area that lasts several months, often longer. The discomfort is usually at the base of the penis and around the anus and lower back. Sometimes it spreads into the testes. Some patients have pain with ejaculation, and others may have pain or an urgency or hesitancy when they pass urine, as well as a poor urinary stream. The cause of CP/CPPS is not known. Physicians often try various therapies, including antibiotics to treat hidden or persistent infections in the prostate gland and {alpha}-blockers to relax the muscle tissue of the prostate and the outlet of the bladder. Thus far, few research studies have tested whether either of these treatments helps relieve symptoms of CP/CPPS.

The researchers of Columbia University and Cornell Medical College say that the etiology and treatment of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome remain poorly understood. Pain, lower urinary tract voiding symptoms and negative impact on quality of life are the most common complaints. Acupuncture, which has been widely used to treat painful and chronic conditions, may be a potential treatment to alleviate the constellation of symptoms experienced by men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

In the present study, 10 men diagnosed with category IIIA or IIIB chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome for over 6 months, refractory to at least 1 conventional therapy (antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, alpha-1 blockers). The median age of the subjects was 36 years (range 29-63).

Standardized full body and auricular acupuncture treatment was given twice weekly for 6 weeks. The results show that subjects reported less pain after 3 and 6 weeks of treatment and remained so after an additional 6 weeks of follow-up. There weren’t any adverse events reported.

The researchers thus conclude that these preliminary findings suggest the potential therapeutic role of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

[Chinese Medicine 2007, 2:1 doi:10.1186/1749-8546-2-1]