A partner's guide

When your partner has chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome

What to do when your partner has chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome and it’s affecting your relationship.

3 min

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What is chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS)?

Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland — a reproductive organ that sits below the bladder and makes fluid that mixes with sperm to create semen. There are different types of prostatitis and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) the most common, making up 80-90% of cases.

People with CP/CPPS have long term pain that lasts for at least three to six months.

CP/CPPS is different than acute or chronic bacterial prostatitis because there is no detectable infection, and the cause is often unknown. The variety of symptoms different men experience can make it difficult to diagnosis and treat.

What causes CP/CPPS?

The cause of CP/CPPS is usually not known. It is believed to originate from infection, injury, muscular or psychological causes.

What someone with CP/CPPS could be feeling

Diagnosing and treating CP/CPPS can take time and the symptoms can take a physical and mental toll. CP/CPPS can reduce a person’s quality of life and affect their personal relationships.

The more severe CP/CPPS is, the more likely your partner will experience pain catastrophising (dwelling on, magnifying or feeling helpless about the pain), depression, anxiety, and stress.

Common symptoms of CP/CPPS, like LUTS and erectile dysfunction, may contribute to anxiety, depression, and stress. In addition to feeling frustrated and hopeless, your partner might also feel embarrassed about dealing with a condition affecting an area that can be uncomfortable to discuss.

What you might be feeling

If your partner has CP/CPPS, it can affect both of your sexual function and satisfaction, as well as your relationship more generally.

The condition’s impact on your partner’s mental health can also affect you. It’s important to acknowledge the feelings you have about your partner’s symptoms and take care of your wellbeing too.

What you can do about CP/CPPS

If you think your partner’s CP/CPPS is affecting you, it might be good for you to speak about it with your doctor.

Although chronic pain can be difficult to treat, there are medications or other treatments (e.g., acupuncture, shockwave therapy) that might be effective.

The psychological effects of CP/CPPS might get worse the longer it goes on, so encouraging your partner to seek help sooner rather than later is important.

When your partner has chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome

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Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice

Call 000 for emergency services

If you or someone you know needs urgent medical attention.

Call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 for 24/7 support

MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

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