Background: Male chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) is a heterogeneous constellation of symptoms that causes significant impairment and is often challenging to treat. In this prospective study, we evaluated men with CPPS who underwent comprehensive pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) program. We used the previously validated Genitourinary Pain Index (GUPI) to measure outcomes. Methods: We included 14 men who underwent physical therapy for idiopathic CPPS from October 2015 to October 2016. Men with clearly identifiable causes of pelvic pain, such as previous surgery, chronic infection, trauma, prostatitis and epididymitis were excluded. Treatment included: (I) manual therapy (internal and external) of pelvic floor and abdominal musculature to facilitate relaxation of muscles; (II) therapeutic exercises to promote range of motion, improve mobility/flexibility and strengthen weak muscles; (III) biofeedback to facilitate strengthening and relaxation of pelvic floor musculature; (IV) neuromodulation for pelvic floor muscle relaxation and pain relief. GUPI questionnaires were collected at initial evaluation and after the 10th visit. Higher scores reflect worse symptoms. Previous validation of the GUPI calculated a reduction of 7 points to robustly predict being a treatment responder (sensitivity 100%, specificity 76%) and a change in 4 points to predict modest response. Data are presented as medians (ranges). Results: A total of 10 patients completed 10 visits, and the remaining four patients completed between 5 and 9 visits. The median National Institute of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) score at initial evaluation was 30.8 [16-39] and decreased to 22.2 [7-37] at the tenth visit. Five of the 10 patients (50%) in the study had a reduction of greater than 7 points indicating a robust treatment response, and two (20%) had a change of greater than 4 indicating moderate response. Three patients (30%) did not have any meaningful change in NIH-CPSI and the remaining four are in the process of completing 10 sessions. Duration of therapy appears to predict treatment response. Longer duration has better response. Conclusions: Male CPPS is difficult to treat and often requires a multimodal approach. Based on the results of our pilot study, pelvic floor rehabilitation may be an effective treatment option for select patients. A larger study with a control group is needed to validate the routine use of pelvic floor rehabilitation in men with CPPS and predict characteristics of men who would respond to therapy.
- Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)
- Chronic prostatitis
- Pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Reproductive Medicine