Your penis is probably one of your most valued possessions. But, what do you do when it starts to hurt?
When have you, last heard a man complain about penis pain? It probably was not nearly as often as a woman complaining of vaginal pain, but why is that? One reason is that men have fewer pelvic organs and structures involved and, therefore, have less chance of something going wrong with them.
It does occur, however, more frequently than most people might imagine. Many times the cause is from a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or urethritis (inflammation of the urethra). But what do you do when the doctor tells you prostatitis is the cause?
Well, if the prostatitis is bacterial, then a round of antibiotics should do the trick. The real problem occurs when it is nonbacterial, meaning the exact cause is unknown.
This condition typically presents in men between the ages of 35 to 50 years old. Nonbacterial prostatitis is a huge problem as it accounts for nearly two million doctor visits annually. And, despite that, it is very difficult to diagnose and even more so to treat.
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and penis with the urethra running through the center of it. If it gets inflamed, then it could alter or even stop the flow of urine causing further difficulties.
Although the cause is unknown, here are several reasons why this condition might occur:
1. Previous occurrence of bacterial prostatitis
2. Recent virus
4. Irritation from urine backed up in the prostate
5. Nerve problems in the lower urinary tract
7. Increased tension in the pelvic floor muscles
Of all the above reasons, the one most missed is number seven: increased tension in the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles that line the bottom of the pelvis. Their functions include supporting the bladder and managing excretions.
The muscles must be strong enough to keep pee, poop, and gas where it belongs – inside the pelvis. But, they should also be able to relax enough to let them out when appropriate.
Many times, after other causes are ruled out, men receive a diagnosis of nonbacterial prostatitis even when no inflammation exists. And, unfortunately, many of those same men are prescribed antibiotics. In addition, pain medications may also be prescribed.
When increased pelvic floor muscle tension is the cause of penis pain, neither antibiotics nor pain medications will fix the problem. And, the tension will duplicate the symptoms of an inflamed prostate. Some of those symptoms include:
1. Pain or burning with urination
2. Pain with bowel movements
3. Pain with ejaculation
4. Pain in the low back, groin, rectum, scrotum, tip of penis, pubic area, and urethra
5. Straining or difficulty urinating
6. Frequent urination
7. Urgent urination
The muscles of the pelvic floor need rehabilitation; to be stretched by a pelvic floor physical therapy specialist. If they are unable to relax, the pain and other symptoms will not only continue, but will worsen. Years later it can be debilitating.
Don’t let this happen to you. At the first sign of penis pain, go to your primary care physician. And make sure you are referred to a pelvic floor physical therapist sooner than later. That referral could be the best thing you ever did for your penis!
Photo: Flickr/ Thomas Anderson