Prostatitis refers to a condition in which the prostate and surrounding areas become inflamed. While the exact cause of chronic prostatitis remains unknown, researchers suspect that a microorganism may play a role in the condition. Other contributing factors may include chemicals in the urine, nerve damage in the pelvic area, or an immune response to a previous urinary tract infection. Treatment options for this painful condition range from medications to physical therapy. However, emerging research indicates that acupuncture has the potential to reduce painful chronic prostatitis symptoms without the negative side effects of medications.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), chronic prostatitis affects between 10 to 15 percent of the male population in the United States. While it can develop in men of any age group, those who have suffered nerve damage in the lower urinary tract and those who are coping with significant psychological stress may be more likely to develop chronic prostatitis. Common symptoms of chronic prostatitis include: pain or discomfort in the pelvic area lasting three or more months; pain during or after ejaculation; and painful urination.
How Western Medicine Approaches Chronic Prostatitis
Western physicians typically prescribe medication to help those with chronic prostatitis manage their pain. Medications like silodosin, finasteride, dutasteride, chondroitin sulfate, and cyclobenzaprine may help relieve painful symptoms, but they often carry several unwanted side effects (i.e., hives, breathing issues, dizziness, swelling, heartburn, drowsiness, and more). Some doctors may also recommend warm baths, heating pads, physical therapy, or relaxation exercises to reduce stress levels and relieve painful symptoms.
Acupuncture Therapy for Chronic Prostatitis
Although more comprehensive clinical studies are needed to understand the effects of acupuncture on chronic prostatitis, existing research shows great promise. According to a 2021 randomized controlled trial, “20 sessions of acupuncture over 8 weeks resulted in greater improvement in symptoms of moderate to severe [chronic prostatitis], with durable effects 24 weeks after treatment” when compared to participants who received sham therapy. A recent article from Harvard Health elaborated on this recent trial, explaining that “By week eight, just over 60 percent of men in the acupuncture group were reporting significant symptom improvements…compared to 37 percent of the sham-treated men.”
A systematic review of acupuncture for chronic prostatitis concluded that acupuncture serves as an effective treatment for chronic prostatitis, while a 2018 review found that acupuncture can reduce painful symptoms in chronic prostatitis patients. Additionally, a randomized, sham-controlled trial concluded, “Our results show that the use of acupuncture in treatment of men with [chronic prostatitis] symptoms resulted in a significant decrease in total [National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index] scores.” Those wishing for effective and lasting relief from painful chronic prostatitis symptoms may find success through acupuncture therapy.
Call the NW Portland office of Inner Works Acupuncture today at (503) 227-2127 to schedule your appointment.