Men with pelvic pain have a wide range of different symptoms for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes the pain starts after an injury, sometimes after a period of severe stress, or sometimes with no known cause.
The symptoms men describe vary widely, but may include:
- Pain when sitting – that may be in their tailbone (coccyx), bottom, pubic area or lower back
- A pressure or throbbing in the pelvis, rectum or genitals
- A burning pain in the scrotum, penis or crotch
- Bowel problems – a sense of incomplete emptying, pain opening their bowels, inability to pass wind or anal pain
- Bladder problems – the need to go to the toilet frequently, slow passage of urine, or bladder pain
- Sexual pain during intercourse or orgasm
- Hip, groin or abdominal pain
- Social withdrawal, loss of self-esteem, behavioural or emotional changes, anxiety or depression
Whereas pelvic pain often starts in the teenage years for women, it generally starts at an older age in men, and may have been present for a shorter time.
A series of 112 men with pelvic pain assessed in a pelvic physiotherapy clinic in Melbourne showed that:
– the age of those affected varied from 19-84 years with an average age of 41 years
– pain had been present for less than 12 months in 57%, 12-24 months in 21% and over 2 years in 22%
– 80% of men described their stress levels as high, 20% as normal
– pain was described as Testicular in 66%, Perineal in 65%, Penile in 46%, Suprapubic in 36%, Rectal in 29%, Hip/groin in 25%, Lumbar spine in 14%, and Buttocks in 9%.