Chronic pelvic pain [CPP] is a real, overwhelming and complicated condition.
Chronic pelvic pain is easily misunderstood – some even deny its existence. But for those men and women who live with pain every day, CPP is a game changer: a debilitating human affliction worthy of much more attention than is currently being provided. Estimates have the number of men and women sufferers at over 300 million people world-wide, and anecdotal evidence suggest this number is understated and growing rapidly.
My CPP appeared out of nowhere – developing slowly for over a decade before becoming severe. I was 36 years old, married with two children, an ambitious hard working family man that pushed himself beyond the limits and continually engulfed in high levels of fatigue and stress. In reality, my body was telling me something via my CPP – I wasn’t bullet proof after all, and a fundamental change was necessary to correct my inner balance.
There are many different pelvic pain symptoms – in my case I ached and throbbed from front to back and from nipple to knee. I was unable to perform the most rudimentary of human function without consternation or concern and any discernible relief from the pain and dysfunction wasn’t easy to find. Results from a range of tests, scans and procedures continually suggested I was in good health – yet the results and specialist advice did not correspond with how I felt or how I functioned. I was left feeling frustrated, isolated and helpless for such a long time I thought I was never again going to be at peace with my soul.
Pain became my obsession and hiding it from family and work colleagues became both a necessity and a priority. I was pre-occupied with my pain and I grew very skilled at hiding it. Even so I was deeply concerned with the effect this pre-occupation was having on the functioning of my company and the development of my young family – and of course my future wellbeing.
In 2004, after five years of severe pain and demoralizing dysfunction, I finally found a web site www.pelvicpainhelp.com that rejuvenated my spirit and gave me new hope – I discovered I had a condition known as Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS), and that I was not alone after all. Just knowing my pain had a name helped enormously. I no longer worried about the unknown and I realised that there was optimism for the future. I discovered that my form of the condition was stress related and that other men may also suffer symptoms of Chronic Pelvic Pain due to a variety of other issues including prostatitis [inflammation of the prostate gland], urinary tract infection, urological surgery, sports injury or accidental overload, and many other factors associated with the organs, structures, muscles and nerves in and adjacent to the male pelvic floor.
My life is different as a consequence of my Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome – I can’t engage in as many business activities and compete as hard as I was once drawn to do, however via a mixture of good luck, perseverance, and support I have found a certain solace in my life, an acceptance of who I am and what is truly important to me. My recovery has been a discovery of myself as much as the treatment therapy I expertly received from my wonderful physiotherapist Shan Morrison at Women’s and Mens Health Physiotherapy. However my process of remaining in good health is an on-going journey as I have no expectation of a cure for my affliction. I do have a management plan and I do practice daily relaxation techniques and pelvic floor exercises, but most of all I purposefully track a quieter and less stressful life. There is no question my ordeal and journey has left me a changed man, perhaps even a better man.
What’s certain is that Chronic Pelvic Pain will test your mind and body so it is vital you seek the very best of care, assistance and support. CPPS can be managed – but you must have a strong belief and a true acceptance of your inner self to achieve a happy and prosperous life. Thankfully, I am better now – I don’t speak of cure because cure suggests the problem has been simply eradicated and it definitely has not been. However I now understand my limitation, I listen to my body, and I accept that every day is part of a journey that is filled with challenges, hurdles and moments of fulfilment.
My overriding passion has become to help myself by helping others. The writing of my book “Core Matters – The Evolution of a Chronic Pelvic Pain Sufferer” was my way of providing co-sufferers with hope and inspiration for the future. My involvement with the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia is another way I hope to stir wellbeing in all men and women who sufferer with this most ghastly of human afflictions know as chronic pelvic pain.
Carl Anthony Giardinazzo