I was no stranger to injury.
I had trained mixed-martial arts for over eight years, and in that time I had rehabilitated my own dislocated shoulders, distended knees, a hyperextended elbow, two popped floating ribs, and other fun injuries.
So one day I had pain around my man-plumbing. I figured it was just another muscle injury. I stretched, I iced, I walked, and I rested.
But it got worse. And I started to need the bathroom a lot. And I felt like I’d been kicked in the nuts – nearly all of the time. I was constipated. Then climaxing became like shoving a lit match down the pipe. I almost regretted getting naked in the first place.
And I absolutely could not run. Not even to chase my then-toddler son, who had just discovered the joy of sprinting instead of walking. If I tried, it felt like something big was trying to hulk-smash its way out of my rear end.
When I went to the doctor, he put me on antibiotics. Nothing changed. That ruled out infection. And a series of scans ruled out cancer.
So I went to the urologist. He called it “prostatitis.” He gave me another prescription for the same antibiotics. Told me to drink less water. Keep a pee journal. Avoid spicy foods.
I know he meant well. But it was obvious he didn’t know what it was, either.
Thank God for the information age. After research and deduction, I found out what it was. Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome, or CPPS.
But then I had a new problem. Nobody could agree on how to effectively treat CPPS.
My first discovery: CPPS is not the same as prostatitis.
When you see a doctor or a urologist, they might tell you have prostatitis.
Prostatitis is an umbrella category that includes cancer, infections, and CPPS. It requires a different series of tests – and often they yield nothing, because according to the National Institutes of Health:
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) accounts for 90% of prostatitis cases in outpatient clinics and is characterized by chronic pelvic pain symptoms lasting at least 3 months during the past 6 months, in the absence of a urinary tract bacterial infection but in the presence of urinary symptoms and sexual dysfunction.
Let me reiterate that.
If you have the symptoms, there is a 90% chance that your problem is not prostatitis. It’s “Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome,” or CPPS.
What causes Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome?
According to biomechanist Katy Bowman, Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome is caused by a hypertonicity of the muscles of the pelvis.
A hypertonicity is an “over-tightness” of muscles.
So if you do stretches, everything will get better, right?
I wish. I would pass you the list of stretches right now and you could fix it. Unfortunately, CPPS has a deeper root cause. Your pelvic floor muscles clench without your conscious control. They clench because of anxiety, and those muscles are the unhappy victims because of how long you sit.
The order of events looks like this:
- You sit in your car on the way to work, at work, and when relaxing at night.
- For at least the first two events, you clench because of anxiety and stress.
- Your pelvic muscles are among the muscles that clench.
- Your pelvic muscles and their surrounding muscles maladapt due to lack of movement.
- Your pelvic muscles and their surrounding muscles don’t get as much blood flow as they don’t move around a lot.
- The pelvic muscles get overtired – and they don’t get the blood flow necessary to recover.
Sitting a lot + stressing a lot
causes Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome.
How can I be sure CPPS is the right diagnosis?
To verify you have CPPS, you have to connect the dots between the symptoms and the circumstances.
Official Symptom List
(courtesy of Wikipedia)
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is characterized by pelvic or perineal pain without evidence of urinary tract infection, lasting longer than 3 months, as the key symptom. Symptoms may wax and wane. Pain can range from mild to debilitating. Pain may radiate to the back and rectum, making sitting uncomfortable. Pain can be present in the perineum, testicles, tip of penis, pubic or bladder area.Dysuria, arthralgia, myalgia, unexplained fatigue, abdominal pain, constant burning pain in the penis, and frequency may all be present. Frequent urination and increased urgency may suggest interstitial cystitis (inflammation centred in bladder rather than prostate). Post-ejaculatory pain, mediated by nerves and muscles, is a hallmark of the condition, and serves to distinguish CP/CPPS patients from men with BPH or normal men. Some patients report low libido, sexual dysfunction and erectile difficulties.
In plain English
WARNING: Crude language
• Pain around your plumbing
• A perpetual feeling of “blue balls”
• Your rectum feels like it’s trying to tear out of your body like the baby xenomorph in Alien
• You’re suddenly peeing a whole lot more often
• It burns like Greek fire when you climax
Timing of Symptoms
CPPS is worst when you are experiencing stress, anxiety, and a lack of physical movement. They’re linked.
My pain was worst at predictable times. Mornings were tolerable to good. But when I returned from work and my kids started to scream at each other, the pain came on like a wave.
Yet on quiet mornings, the pain was diminished so much that I could work out without any discomfort.
When CPPS showed up, I had just been transferred to a new position at work. I faced a hostile boss and unclear expectations. I sat more than usual, hurrying to keep up and taking few breaks.
My newborn daughter was colicky, louder than an opera singer, and limited our sleep to a few hours a night. And finally, I had recently given up martial arts training, which was a source of both exercise and other men to socialize with.
I’m also type-A spaz to begin with, so I am prone to anxiety. Eventually, my physical therapist told me it was a perfect storm for CPPS.
Do women get CPPS?
Yes! Often it is called “pelvic floor disorder” for women, because not only are they subject to CPPS , but they often get similar problems after childbirth.
An important distinction is that women suffer as much hypertonicity as they do the opposite – hypotonicity. Which often causes a lot of…leaking. And is no fun, either.
There are great treatment programs for women. Plus, they’re better at talking about their health problems. Statistically.
Man-specific treatment is harder to find. Until now.
Great. I’m sure that I have CPPS. Now what?
Now you get treatment! You can treat CPPS yourself using the information in this blog – and without surgery or drugs.
First off, CPPS is not:
- Something inevitably happening to you
- Or what defines you
That’s right. CPPS does not define you. You don’t “suffer from CPPS.”
If you want this garbage over with, then the first step is to change how you talk and think about it. “I’m currently treating CPPS, and while it slows me down, it won’t for long.”
How to cure chronic pelvic pain syndrome
First off, your goal is a 98% removal of pain.
I can’t teach you to reach 100% because I do, once in a while, feel a tiny twinge of pain in my pelvic muscles – and it lasts up to a few seconds.
It took me one year to find all of the pieces to solving the CPPS puzzle.
I went from constant, horrible pain to sprinting the entire Tough Mudder 5k on five hours of sleep.
My point is not a “humble brag,” but that you can reach 98% removal of CPPS. And I think you can get there in about six months, if you’re really serious about taking your life back – and you make some new habits.
My formula is nothing special. It won’t “redefine your life” or cause bikini-clad women to appear on your newly-financed yacht. It’s just a series of healthy habits, none of which is particularly new, interesting, or intense.
You don’t have to move to Tibet to levitate in a temple or spend a million dollars on cybernetic implants. Even better, you don’t need to use prescription drugs or get surgery. The hardest part is reorganizing your life to make time.
GOAL: 98% REMOVAL OF CPPS
TIMEFRAME: 6 MONTHS
To achieve this:
- Get control by letting go of control. It sounds like Mister Miyagi gibberish, but I will explain it in detail.
- Foster the right mindset using habitual goal setting, planning, mind control, and meditation.
- Nine stretches twice a day until symptoms diminish, then do it once per day.
- Take one long walk and 2-5 short walks or other low-level activity.
- Knead out the knots in your pelvic muscles using several non-invasive techniques.
- Go to physical therapy and do the homework every day – which is typically stretching, a handful of exercises, and self-massage.
- Make life an adventure, see you friends, and do some things you want to do.
This doesn’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t take that long, either. Get a journal to track your progress, and then work at it a little at a time.
A black belt in fighting CPPS
During my very busy year of rehab, I sifted through dozens of Web sites, read half a dozen books on pelvic pain, used rehab DVDs, and went to physical therapy. I also scoured online forums, YouTube videos, and picked my urologist and PT’s brains.
I’ll post all of my resources in future posts, and if you really want to figure it out yourself, you can.
In the next posts we’ll drill down into each of the steps. They will be brief, and supplementing with the recommended resources will increase the effectiveness of each.
Whoa, whoa. What’s the catch, Mr. Marketer?
There isn’t one.
I mean to offer a 100-page eBook or PDF in the near future – somewhere you can get all of the info and take it with you, or easily print it.
And I’d like to offer coaching for those who are really stuck.
But neither of those options is required to use CureCPPS.
My goal is to be a professional content creator (could you tell I’m a wannabe?). This site is something I show to prospective employers. If the site generates a little income in the future, great. But the core content will remain free, so men can come and find the missing pieces of the puzzle.
- Sign up for my emails if you haven’t already. I’ll only email you when I add new information or provide better modes of training.
- Find a journal or a dedicated notebook to track your progress.