'One Doctor Even Proposed Cutting Off My Epididymis'

Vasco Furrer

Vasco's Story

Tell me about your experience with CPPS. How long have you had it for, how did it start and where are you now with it?  

I’m 41 years old and live nearby Zurich in Switzerland. In the past, I was active and successful in business for a long time. Since I've worked a lot with and in start-ups, I've been very busy.

At the age of 18, I started to have problems with my bowels. I could hardly eat without having diarrhoea. I saw all kinds of doctors and did lots of tests, but the diagnosis was irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Doctors told me to relax, but this problem never really got better, until a short time ago. 

At the age of 28, I started to have pain in my left testicle, but again, nothing was found and doctors told me that it would disappear. 

My prostatitis all started when I was nearly 30 years old. Back then I suddenly had pain after sex and some of the usual symptoms that come along with this problem like testicular pain, pain at the tip of the penis, pain in the lower back, pain during orgasm, frequent urination and getting up four to five times a night to pee, etc. 

This is when the whole ordeal truly began. I visited doctors, was sent from specialist to specialist, prescribed antibiotics a number of times, given cortisone injections and other drugs. I experienced this for ten years. I went to acupuncture, kinesiology, and many other specialists and/or charlatans. Every venture was an opportunity to be tested. 

I often heard from the doctors that I had to learn to live with this. 

One doctor even proposed cutting off my epididymis. It led to anxiety, depression, insomnia and insecurity. Because of this situation and hard work, it ultimately led to a burnout. But I didn't want that. I couldn’t believe that I was the only person with this problem.

One and a half years ago I came across Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) through my own research. My last urologist was able to confirm the diagnosis, but told me it was untreatable.

I immersed myself in this topic, tried therapies, carried out research, read books and did as much research as possible. I contacted all kinds of specialists and created my own concept. 

I believe my concept is not very different from Karl Monahan's. My concept is based on the biopsychosocial method. I’ve call it: ‘the computer’. 

Your hardware can't work without a stable software and vice versa. Then there is the room, where the computer is. Is the room too cold, too hot, etc. 

The hardware is the body, the software the psyche/emotional state and the room is the environment/social life. My coaching is based on stretching, movements, connection to the body and to the soul, values and needs. 

The relaxation, breathing and strategies to cope with chronic pain are also very important.

But the main part is the emotional state and environment. I give space and room for the client to talk. I am like a confidant to whom you can talk about everything. 

Together the patient and I define strategies and create exercises together. I make suggestions and pass on my experience and the experience of other CPPS sufferers. I can also suggest doctors or physiotherapists, whom I know (and who are familiar with CPPS). I also involve partners or wives if there is a conflict to be solved, or also to help explain the situation the husband is going through. I involve the partners and wives in the act of relaxation, stretching, cupping and massages. 

Through CPPS many relationships can suffer. I help to explain the situation to the wives and partners and involve them in the healing process. Every case is different, every prostatitis sufferer has his own story. I don't apply the same strategy to each one, but I listen first and then try to fit the best solution together with my patient. 

I specialize in the mental health aspect; analyzing lifestyle, social conflicts, methods to cope with chronic pain and checking for trauma and other important life events that could cause or intensify stress levels.

I had prostatitis for around ten years. I truly understand the consequences of this problem. My empathy for the clients is huge. And therefore also my wish to help them is huge.

What's most important - and I lacked this throughout my experience with prostatitis - is providing the feeling that there is somebody to help and that you're not alone. As a coach, I will accompany the client during the process.

I speak several languages so I can read a lot of books/articles only available in the original language. I’ve learnt a lot. I tried everything and after about a year I got rid of the pain. I can live free again. Once in a while, I have some small flare-ups, but they are getting shorter and less painful.

Now when I start to feel the flare-ups coming right away I stop everything around me. I stop all stress-related activities, I listen carefully to my body and emotional state. 

I talk to my pain and try to find the root of this flare-up, as my body is giving me signals of stress or that I am not connected to myself. To listen to your body and start a conversation you need a calm environment, that is why, in these cases, I cancel all kinds of meetings or noisy environments.

What do you think is the cause of these symptoms?

I believe that this problem has various causes, and each man has different causes. What surprised me again and again during my suffering was that [CPPS] came and went. It was interesting that I felt less pain during times of vacation. Also, the fact that when I had a healthier diet, I had fewer symptoms. 

It was clear to me that this problem was not caused by viruses or bacteria, but was triggered mechanically, but above all psychologically.

Even so, the mind is not always free to think this way. When the pain gets worse, the fear comes back that something is genuinely wrong. I think that for me, some factors came together that caused the problem. First is the strict and disciplined upbringing that I've experienced. I have divorced parents. There was also a change of culture. I moved countries when I was eight years old. 

I am a person who analyzes everything, thinks about everything, and often has conversations with himself. I don't like conflict at all. I swallow a lot and always try to create a calm mood, even when things happen that don't suit me at all. I'd rather be calm and accept what is unfair than assert myself.

My body has given me many warning signs, but I have ignored them often and pushed my body to the limit.

What name would you call it?

I didn’t really have a name for it. Sometimes I just called it ‘the bastard’. 

Of all the treatments available, which - in your view - has been the most misleading? Conversely, which have been the most effective?
  • All kinds of antibiotics, antidepressants, alpha-blockers, pain relievers just help in a short-time view. All-in-all they are useless.
  • Corticoid therapy helped during a couple of weeks. I received injections in the iliac region and into my spermatic duct. 
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation - I still do it. It helps though not a lot. But for me, it is a moment of breathing, relaxing.
  • Baths with relaxations oils and with magnesium sulfate - yes, it helps.
  • The combination of many treatments, as described in the books by Wise/Anderson, Dr. Susie Gronski, Amy Stein and other books from Germany. I looked at all the options and tried them out. In the end, I used the forms of therapy that were most effective for me.
What’s been the most extreme/desperate treatment you’ve tried? 

There is no extreme treatment I tried. Of course some doctors talked about cutting off my epididymis, to which I didn’t agree at all. I also did iced sitz baths and tried to use all kinds of ointments and painkillers. 

When the pain was very strong or I couldn’t sleep anymore, then my mind wished to take away everything. There were also some suicidal thoughts. But really I wish I could just have an operation to cut off my testicles. Somehow I had the feeling that the root of the problem was there. I only wanted all of these symptoms to disappear.

How comfortable do you feel telling your friends and family about it? How has it affected your friendship groups and relationships?

I didn’t really tell anybody about it. My ex-partner at that time showed no real interest. 

My wife now gives me a lot of support. My wife is a singer and helped me to train my breathing and also helped me with the stretches, massages and walks to relax. I only mentioned it to one friend. Until two years ago, I didn’t even know that I had CPPS. No doctor could ever tell me what I had only that it was some kind of prostatitis, but no real diagnosis. 

In times of strong pain this situation affected a lot of my friendships, also relationships. I was very tired, always in a bad mood and tense. I avoided meeting my friends because I didn’t want them to see me going to the toilet every 30 minutes. I also avoided having sex sometimes, because it was too painful. 

What’s been your most embarrassing situation CPPS has put you in? 

CPPS has this one feature that is very annoying: incontinence - when you pee and then some drops of urine come out. I always wore dark pants, in case some drops of urine came out. Like this other people wouldn’t see it. Many times it happened and I had to try to cover it up. I often tried to put toilet paper in my shorts to catch any last drops. That was always very embarrassing. Also in public toilets, as a young man, to urinate beside other men and see/hear that my urine stream was very weak beside the others. 

What toll has it taken on your mental health?

I was tense, I had anxiety, I had insomnia because I couldn’t sleep more than two hours at a time. Not to know what you have is tough. Doctors not listening to you, not showing empathy or trying to understand that something is really wrong. I had serious depression, burnout, my masculinity suffered a lot, my self-esteem. I cried many nights. 

Has having such a troublesome condition taught you anything about life? Has there been any positives from having it?

It taught me a lot. I had to turn my life upside-down. My diet, my values, my body, when to work and when to relax. I learnt to be patient with myself, with my thoughts, my emotional condition. 

Six years ago, when I had my burnout, I saw it as a sign that I had to change something. Now I see CPPS as a gift. Now my health, my mental health, my emotions, my values, my ethics and furthermore also the people I let close to me or who I distance myself from. It made me a better person for sure and a better coach.

What more do you think should be done to raise awareness of the condition? 

In Switzerland, Austria, Germany there is almost no awareness. I was surprised to see what is already being done in the UK and USA. Most doctors in Switzerland don’t know about CPPS, only urologists. But most of them don’t take it very seriously or don’t even know what you can do. They just send you to physiotherapists. There are ten-20 here, who take care of male pelvic pain. They don’t have a lot of time to talk.

I decided to do my part. Because I had it, I suffered and now I am trying to help. I am coaching men with this problem. I have already noticed that many go to doctors, they go to physiotherapists but don’t have real improvement. Why? Because they don’t even see the whole picture. They are being treated as numbers. 

There is so much more work to this. To give advice, hope, show all kinds of exercises, breathing techniques, how to relax properly, let them talk, let their emotions run free, talk about worries, concerns. To check their psyche, social life, environment…there is so much to do. I am trying to connect to doctors, urologists, physiotherapists but it is hard work.

We should talk more about it, more openly about it. 

To have more articles in newspapers, health shows, social media. I even think about a ribbon with a certain colour, like the red one for HIV or the pink one for breast cancer. People that had it and could beat it. 

I think that all the specialists in male CPPS work for themselves and try to create awareness, but only together can we be strong. Under one brand, as an association of specialists, doctors, therapists, psychologists, coaches, sharing know-how and experiences.

👉 Vasco is a qualified coach in systemic and solution-oriented coaching and in mediation (conflict solving technique). To learn more about Vasco's method check out his website, available in German and English, at https://www.cpps-heilen.com/

👉 Vasco also runs a support group on Facebook (in German) which can be found at

Published on December 23, 2020


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