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For further information, see CMDT Part 23-03: Genitourinary Tract Infections

Key Features

Essentials of Diagnosis

  • Irritative voiding symptoms

  • Perineal or suprapubic discomfort, similar to that of chronic bacterial prostatitis

  • Positive white blood cells from expressed prostatic secretions, but negative culture

General Considerations

  • Nonbacterial chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndromes are caused by an interrelated cascade of inflammatory, immunologic, endocrine, muscular, neuropathic, and psychologic mechanisms

Clinical Findings

Symptoms and Signs

  • Chronic perineal, suprapubic, or pelvic pain is the most common presenting symptom

  • Men may complain of pain in the testes, groin, and low back

  • Pain during or after ejaculation is one of the most prominent and bothersome symptoms

  • Psychosocial factors (depression, anxiety, catastrophizing, poor social support, stress) also likely play an important role in the exacerbation of chronic pelvic pain symptoms

  • The National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) ( has been validated to quantify symptoms of chronic nonbacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome

Differential Diagnosis

  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis

  • Bladder cancer


  • Diagnosis is usually one of exclusion

  • Increased numbers of leukocytes are typically seen in expressed prostatic secretions, but cultures of both expressed prostatic secretions and postprostatic urine specimens are negative


  • Multimodal therapy is recommended according to the various phenotypes of patient presentation

  • Voiding symptoms are managed with an α-blocker (tamsulosin, alfuzosin, silodosin)

  • Psychosocial disorders are treated with

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy

    • Antidepressants

    • Anxiolytics

  • Neuropathic pain is treated with

    • Gabapentinoids

    • Amitriptyline

    • Neuromodulation

    • Acupuncture

  • Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction may respond to

    • Diazepam

    • Biofeedback techniques

    • Pelvic floor physical therapy (eg, kegel exercises)

    • Pelvic shock wave lithotripsy

    • Heat therapy

  • Sexual dysfunction with pain symptoms is treated with sexual therapy and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (eg, sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil)

  • Surgery is not recommended for chronic prostatitis



  • Annoying, recurrent symptoms are common, but serious sequelae have not been identified.

  • Quality of life is greatly decreased for many patients

When to Refer

  • Patients who do not respond to psychosocial therapy should be referred to a mental health specialist

  • Patients who do not respond to pain therapy should be referred to a pain management specialist


Doiron  RC  et al. Male CP/CPPS: where do we stand? World J Urol. 2019;37:1015.
[PubMed: 30864007]
Doiron  RC  et al. Management of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Can Urol Assoc J. 2018;12:S161.
[PubMed: 29875042]  
Doiron  RC  et al. The evolving clinical picture of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS): a look at 1310 patients over ...

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