A Queen’s University research team has found that a painful pelvic affliction associated with adult men occurs as frequently in adolescent boys. Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a urogenital disease associated with persistent and life-altering pelvic and genital pain.
This is the first study to estimate the prevalence of CP-like symptoms in adolescent males, and to show the negative impact that pain, urinary symptoms, and depression have on boys’ 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, professor of Psychology and Urology at Queen’s. “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,” he adds.
“It is prevalent, debilitating, and it costs society a lot in direct and indirect ways,” says Urology professor Curtis Nickel, who co-authored the study. “CP/CPPS is the black sheep of the urologic diseases,” he says. “It used to be prostate cancer, and before that it was ED. We have always been aware that adult men are suffering and are reluctant to seek medical help. Now we know adolescents are, too.”
The researchers hope that a better understanding of the prevalence of CP/CPPS will lead to better treatment and diagnosis of the disease. Since treatment is difficult, and most patients can’t be cured if they have CP/CPPS for 10 years or longer, the researchers believe that early diagnosis is the key to management
The study looks not only at the prevalence of CP/CPPS in teenage boys, but also at the psychological impact associated with the symptoms. “In older men, CP-like symptoms are so devastating they are compared to the negative life impact of Crohn’s disease, diabetes or heart attack,” notes Dr. Tripp. “Our initial research indicates that these CP-like symptoms are having a significant negative quality of life impact in young boys. We must not tolerate inaction on this matter,” he adds.
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