A Queen's University (Ontario) research team has found that prostatitis, a painful pelvic affliction usually associated with adult men, occurs just as frequently in adolescent boys. Surprisingly little is known about chronic prostatitis (also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome) apart from the fact that its main symptom is persistent and life-altering pelvic and genital pain.
The researchers claim that this is the first study to estimate the prevalence of prostatitis-like symptoms in adolescent males, and to show the negative impact that pain, urinary symptoms, and depression have on adolescents' quality of life.
"Boys are suffering in a medical silence, where physicians and even specialists remain unaware of the occurrence and strong negative developmental impact of these disease symptoms," says lead researcher Dean Tripp. "These terrible symptoms of pain are interfering with the developmental trajectory of adolescent boys. Social relationships and academic performance are two of my major concerns."
"It is prevalent, debilitating, and it costs society a lot in direct and indirect ways," adds co-researcher Curtis Nickel. "[Prostatitis] is the black sheep of the urologic diseases. It used to be prostate cancer, and before that it was ED [erectile dysfunction]. We have always been aware that adult men are suffering and are reluctant to seek medical help. Now we know adolescents are, too."
Both Nickel and Tripp hope that a better understanding of the prevalence of prostatitis will lead to better treatment and diagnosis of the disease. Since treatment is difficult, and most patients can't be cured if they have prostatitis for 10 years or longer, the researchers believe that early diagnosis is the key to effective management
The study also looked at the psychological impact associated with the symptoms. "In older men, prostatitis-like symptoms are so devastating they are compared to the negative life impact of Crohn's disease, diabetes or heart attack," said Tripp. "Our initial research indicates that these prostatitis-like symptoms are having a significant negative quality-of-life impact in young boys. We must not tolerate inaction on this matter."
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Source: Queen's University