Pelvic pain in men can be caused by problems with many different structures in the pelvic area. Some of these conditions can occur in both men and women, and others occur exclusively in men. In this article, the various causes of pelvic pain in men will be discussed.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections are more common in women than men because women have a shorter urethra, but both sexes can get urinary tract infections. If you have a urinary tract infection, you may have a strong and painful urge to urinate frequently, but very little urine is released. Watch for a sharp pain or a burning sensation as well. Often the urine is blood tinged, or pinkish. There may also be pain in the abdomen, back or sides. Urinary tract infections are easily cured with antibiotics. It is important to finish the full course of antibiotics to treat a UTI due to bacterial drug resistance and the danger of developing a persistent UTI. Chronic urinary tract infections are more likely to spread to other parts of the body. Interstitial cystitis is a condition in which there is inflammation of the bladder, leading to pelvic pain when someone tries to urinate.
An infection in the kidneys, or pyelonephritis, can cause pelvic pain in both men and women. This type of infection usually begins as a urinary tract infection and spreads to the bladder and kidneys over time. The longer a UTI goes untreated, the greater the chance that it can spread to other parts of the urinary system. Kidney infections are mainly treated with antibiotics. A person with a kidney infection may need to be admitted to the hopsital because this type of internal organ infection is more dangerous and at a higher risk of spreading to the bloodstream than a urinary tract infection. Kidney stones are also a common cause of pelvic pain. Kidney stones are mineral deposits that occur in the kidneys, most commonly composed of excess calcium. Kidney stones can be painful when they pass out of the body; some people describe kidney stones as the most intense pain that they have ever experienced. The pain of a kidney stone may be felt in the lower back, pelvis or abdomen. The pain of a kidney stone may not be continuous at first, but it gradually increases in intensity and duration. Smaller kidney stones will pass through the urethra on their own, but larger kidney stones may require medical treatment. Prescription pain medication may be given to patients with painful kidney stones.
Many different sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may lead to pelvic pain. Chlamydia infection usually does not cause symptoms in most men, but it may cause painful urination and pelvic pain. Gonorrhea infection causes painful urination in most men who are infected with the bacterium. Other STIs, such as genital herpes, can cause pain and sores on the genitals. Some STIs can be treated with antibiotics; herpes is not curable but drugs are available to help prevent outbreaks of symptoms.
Prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate gland, can cause pelvic pain and painful urination in men. Prostatitis may be caused by an infection which can be treated with antibiotics. Enlargement of the prostate gland that is not caused by an infection can be due to prostate cancer or a common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH makes it difficult to urinate, and medical treatments are available for the condition.
Intestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), severe constipation, fecal impaction and ulcerative colitis may cause abdominal or pelvic pain. These conditions are usually diagnosed by a gastroenterology specialist with techniques such as barium X-rays and colonoscopies. Appendicitis, or inflammation of the appendix that is attached to the large intestine, can cause severe pelvic or lower abdominal pain. The pain of appendicitis is so severe and sudden that most people go to the emergency room knowing that something is wrong. Appendicitis is treated with emergency surgery because an inflamed appendix could rupture, spilling bacteria into the abdominal cavity and causing septic shock.
Another cause of pelvic pain is hemorrhoids, which are large, inflamed veins around the anus. These veins, which can be located externally or inside of the rectum, can make it painful to have a bowel movement. In severe cases, hemorrhoids can make it painful for a person to sit. Hemorrhoids can be caused by straining, such as during a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids may bleed during a bowel movement. The blood from hemorrhoids will appear bright red; if oxidized (dark) blood is present in your stool, it indicates bleeding further up in the digestive tract. There are many over-the-counter remedies available for hemorrhoids, including hemorrhoid creams, corticosteroid creams and stool softeners in people who develop hemorrhoids due to chronic constipation. In severe cases that do not respond to these treatments, hemorrhoids are sometimes treated with surgery or a type of treatment called infrared coagulation, in which heat is applied to hemorrhoids to shrink them.
In some cases, problems with the nerves that supply the structures of the pelvis can cause pelvic pain. If you are experiencing pelvic pain without a known cause, seek medical attention for a diagnosis. Some common conditions that cause pelvic pain, such as sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections and bladder infections require antibiotics for treatment. Men with enlarged prostate glands should be screened for prostate cancer.