Assessing if What You Have Are Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis
If you believe you have symptoms of chronic prostatitis, start your assessment by completing this Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (CPSI). This symptom measure, which not complete – it does not take into account such related issues as fatigue and depression – it allows you and your doctor to speak in a partly standardized language as you make comparisons to the results of published medical research; you may want to look at the Prostatitis Surgery site, which catalogues the published effect of many prostatitis treatments on the CPSI score.
The CPSI scores from 0 to 43 and you may want to partly define your treatment objectives in relationship to this scale. Keep in mind that in many studies placebo alone has provided a decrease in score from 4-8 points. Depending upon where you start, a 4-8 point drop may or may not satisfy you. For example a change from a score of 37, which is a very high score, to a score of 32, which is also a very high score, may not be perceptible, let alone satisfying. You may want to share your treatment goals in subjective and quantitative terms with your doctor.
During your consultation, you may want to ask your doctor these questions:
- Do I have prostatitis? Is it acute? Or chronic?
- What is causing my symptoms?
- What is the recommended treatment?
- How much relief can I expect? Can we quantify it with the CPSI?
- How quickly and for how long can I expect to not have symptoms?
- What are the risks associated with this treatment?
- How does this treatment compare with the alternative(s)?
Summary of Prostatitis
Acute prostatitis is a painful, often febrile illness generally of young men. It is short lasting and can almost always be resolved with antibiotics. Because it can progress quickly to serious and potentially life threatening illness, it requires early medical evaluation and treatment.
Chronic prostatitis is a challenging problem of chronic pain and other symptoms. As with other chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, it is in many cases managed, not cured. Because it is often so resistant to treatment, many doctors and non-doctors have offered conventional as well as alternative treatments, some well studied but many not.
Patients with chronic prostatitis will do well to differentiate treatments aimed at helping them cope with chronic prostatitis and treatments aimed at eradicating it altogether. They will also do well to stay intently focused on the known literature, primary data, and the effects of treatments on CPSI scores. We all know somebody who did well or who did poorly. But in the final analysis, patients can only begin to make educated, evidence-based decisions by doing the hard work that comes with becoming acquainted with the science of their disease.
To learn more, you may want to check out:
Prostatitis Surgery Web Site: An searchable site map with links to updated articles on everything from the epidemiology of prostatitis to many of the most commonly applied treatments. Includes unique video and narrative material about surgery for some of the toughest cases of chronic prostatitis.
The Prostatitis Blog: A searchable updated article series focused on patients, prostatitis, and pain. Subjects range from experimental models, to epidemiology, to clinical research, to interesting cases, to public activism.
The Prostatitis Forum and Social Network: An interactive online place for anyone with an interest in prostatitis.
Urologist Arnon Krongrad, MD has interest in laparoscopic prostate cancer surgery and in the treatment of chronic prostatitis. He is the Medical Director of the not-for-profit Prostate Cancer International.