Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)
CPPS is the most common type of prostatitis – around 19 out of every 20 men (90 to 95 per cent) with prostatitis have it. You might also hear it called chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, chronic abacterial prostatitis or prostate pain syndrome. Chronic means long-lasting.
Men with CPPS usually have symptoms for three months or longer. Even after treatment, you may still have prostatitis for a long time. It might come and go, causing occasional episodes of severe pain, sometimes known as flare-ups.
What causes it?
Nobody knows for certain what causes CPPS. Unlike other types of prostatitis it isn’t usually caused by a bacterial infection. There could be a number of causes, which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat.
There are also a number of things that might trigger it, including:
- urine getting into the prostate
- previous infections in or around the prostate
- an infection that doesn’t show up in tests
- problems with nerves, so that they send pain signals to the brain even when there’s nothing physically wrong
- stress, anxiety or depression
- problems with the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that support your bladder and bowel and help to control urination).
Some research shows a link between stress, anxiety and depression and CPPS. But this doesn’t mean that CPPS is all in your head. If you’re feeling stressed or depressed, this may cause physical symptoms that trigger CPPS, or make symptoms worse.
There’s some evidence that CPPS may be linked to other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, which causes severe tiredness, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which causes bowel problems.
Some men with CPPS have symptoms of these conditions too. There’s also some evidence that in a small number of men, CPPS may be caused by a sexually transmitted infection. But we need more research to know for sure.