Six ways to deal with a prostatitis ‘flare-up’

Prostatitis is a common male condition that can cause pelvic pain, urinary issues, sexual problems and other symptoms. It can be caused by bacteria, but the most common form of prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), does not usually involve bacteria and is often caused by problems elsewhere in the body and outside of the prostate itself.

The most frustrating part about CPPS is that it is very difficult to treat and can have devastating effects on a man’s health. If you have been suffering from recurring prostatitis symptoms, do not despair. There are many things you can do, and the best way to manage chronic prostatitis is with a multimodal whole-body approach that involves diet, stress management, lifestyle adaptations, and a number of natural and alternative treatments.

Here are six ways to deal with a prostatitis flare up. It is recommended to try several different approaches so you can get to the source of your pain.

Relax

In about half the cases of prostatitis, the pelvic pain is due to chronic tension in the pelvic floor muscles. One of the largest contributors to this is stress. And of course, having this difficult-to-treat and painful condition that does not go away only increases your stress and anxiety, contributing further to your problems. Learn your best way to manage stress to help relieve prostatitis, whether by exercise (which is in itself helpful for treating prostatitis), breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, mediation, or by talking to a therapist.

Cognitive behavioral training is commonly part of alternative treatment programs that treat pelvic tension. Some men are unaware that that they clench their pelvic floor muscles when stress or anxious. This can lead to inflammation and chronic tension in the pelvic floor, leading to pain, urinary problems, and sometimes sexual problems. Since this tension likely developed over many years, you are not going to fix this overnight, but working to address the cause of the pelvic floor disorder by managing your stress and anxiety will help you manage your pain and prevent future flare-ups.

Change your diet

If you eat a lot of spicy foods or acidic foods, your diet can be causing prostatitis flare-ups. Studies have found that there are certain foods to avoid for prostatitis because they exacerbate symptoms. Try cutting out spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, hot peppers, chili, alcohol, wheat and acidic foods.

Pay attention to what you eat by keeping a food journal. If you notice your symptoms get worse after eating a certain food, stop eating it for a while. Food allergies and intolerances can also lead to prostatitis flare-ups.

Try prostate supplements

There are many well-researched supplements for prostatitis. A few are even part of the treatment protocols recommended by urologists. Supplements can help reduce inflammation, maximize prostate health, and support better pelvic and urinary health.

Some of the supplements with the most successful clinical studies and research behind them include: Graminex pollen, quercetin, and turmeric (curcumin). Pollen extracts and quercetin are often combined in a therapy called phytotherapy, which is used for relieving sexual pain, reducing inflammation and supporting immunity. Other supplements with significant research for prostate and urinary health include probiotics, plant sterols, green tea, stinging nettle, pygeum, phytonutrients like DIM, cranberry, saw palmetto, and vitamin D.

Add some alternative treatments

The most successful approach to prostatitis usually involves employing several different treatments, including alternative treatments for prostatitis. These drug-free ways to treat prostatitis may include simple treatments you can do at home such as applying ice packs to the area or sitting in a sitz bath. Some men find relief from taking pressure off the prostate area by sitting on special cushions and pillows.

Other alternative chronic prostatitis treatments that require help from a trained professional involve acupuncture, biofeedback, prostate massage, trigger point release therapy and intrapelvic physiotherapy or pelvic floor rehabilitation. Some of the therapies can be done at home by yourself or with the help of a partner after you have learned how to perform them. As mentioned already, many of these methods are complemented by a good stress management or cognitive training program to lead to long-term success.

Have sex

Got your attention? Yes, sex is one treatment for prostatitis. Avoiding sex or a lack of sex can lead to prostatitis because semen can accumulate in the prostate and lead to inflammation. Aim to ejaculate at least once a week to clear out the prostate. If pain during sex is one of your problems, then look into treatments for sexual pain like phytotherapy.

Take medications

If none of the other treatments are working, there are a number of drugs for prostatitis. None of them “cure” chronic prostatitis, but they can help if you have severe symptoms. While antibiotics may be necessary if you have acute bacterial prostatitis, they are not recommended or helpful for CPPS and can lead to more complications and problems.

In the short term you might find some acute pain relief with anti-inflammatory drugs, but these medications are not safe for long-term use, which is why it is smart to look into natural and alternative treatments for managing pain. There are a number of medications that can help with severe urinary symptoms, muscle spasms, or neuropathic pain. All of these medications have side effects, so be sure to do your research to find out of the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you follow these ways to deal with a prostatitis flare up and have patience with them, you may be able to resolve your pelvic pain long-term. Following a natural, whole-body approach that involves several different treatments so you can approach your prostatitis from different angles (diet, exercise, psychological health, supplements, and alternative therapies) is going to lead you down the path to better prostate and pelvic health.

Dr. Geo Espinosa

By Dr. Geo Espinosa

Dr. Geo Espinosa is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and certified functional medicine practitioner recognized as an authority in holistic urology and men’s health. He is Clinical Assistant Professor and holistic clinician in Urology at New York University Langone Medical Center. As an avid researcher and writer, Dr. Geo has authored numerous scientific papers and books including co-editing the Integrative Sexual Health book, and author of the best selling prostate cancer book: Thrive, Don't Only Survive.