5 Things You Should Never Say To A Guy With Pelvic Pain

Sometimes, you can really put your foot in it. Given the fact chronic nonbacterial prostatitis affects around 10 to 15 per cent of men, the odds of finding yourself chatting to a guy suffering from it is high. 

And as a chronic prostatitis sufferer knows, when a friend, family member or colleague learns about your condition, the response can swing from bedside nurse to classroom joker. Even a well-meaning comment can hurt deep and light-hearted remarks taken as insults. 

Here are five statements you might want to bite your tongue at if you feel them slipping out your mouth.

1. 'Oh yeah, I've been kicked in the groin before. Hurts like hell, I know.'

A kick to the testicles feels like a rapid cluster headache combined with a sledgehammer to your funny bone. The sensation is intense, disabling yet, crucially, temporary. Chronic prostatitis by its very name isn't going away anytime soon, something which a sufferer is more than fully aware of. Caution trying to associate with someone's chronic pain by referencing a temporary discomfort. 

2. 'You go to the bathroom a lot. Your bladder must be tiny.'

Sure our bladders may be tense and sensitive, but have they shrunk to that of a thimble? No, no they haven't. We do have normal-sized bladders but there's the symptom of needing to pee which can be intense, constant and painful. There's also the problem of not feeling like we can fully empty our bladders, hence the 500 daily trips to the toilet. 

3. 'So, your balls don't work then?'

Not quite right. Some chronic prostatitis sufferers do have testicular pain, in some cases as a result of a bacterial infection which leaves but kick starts pelvic pain. Chronic prostatitis often makes ejaculation painful, which can put sufferers off having sex/masturbation, but there isn't any evidence to suggest prostatitis causes infertility. 

4. 'It's all in your head.'

Some of it probably is yes. Anxiety, catastrophizing and rumination certainly play a key part in determining how sufferers see their pain. But the physical manifestations are obvious and undeniable. There's a split urine stream, blood in the semen, erectile dysfunction...think you can think your way out of those? Ohmmm...bullshit. To say 'it's all in your head' is dismissive and trivialises the very real and very intimate pain prostatitis patients are experiencing.

5. 'It could be worse.'

This isn't a pissing contest. But if it was, we're certain we would lose. The fact of the matter is that chronic prostatitis is actually worse than a non-sufferer thinks. It's not simply a bit of a niggle in the waist area. Men with prostatitis have a very poor quality of life: it is comparable to that of people with conditions such as unstable angina, inflammatory bowel disease or congestive heart failure. Would you say 'it could be worse' to someone suffering from one of those health conditions? 

Published on January 31, 2021

COAPS Podcast: Interview with Canada Research Chair in Urologic Pain and Inflammation Dr Curtis Nickel 
PubMed.gov: Murphy AB, Macejko A, Taylor A, Nadler RB. Chronic prostatitis: management strategies. Drugs. 2009;69(1):71–84.
DrSusie.com: Blog, male pelvic pain 
Topdoctors.co.uk: Prostatitis: is there a link to infertility of prostate cancer?
NursingTimes: Chronic pelvic pain and prostatitis symptoms, diagnosis and treatment 


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