Objectives: To determine in a pilot study whether acupuncture improved pain, voiding symptoms, and the quality of life of men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
Methods: Men diagnosed with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (National Institutes of Health [NIH] criteria) who were refractory to standard therapy (antibiotics, alpha-blockers, anti-inflammatories, phytotherapy) were referred for acupuncture therapy. The treatment protocol involved three sets of acupuncture points totaling 30 points (8 points were electrically stimulated) given alternatively twice weekly for 6 weeks. The patients completed the NIH Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (CPSI) at baseline and the CPSI and subjective global assessment at 6 weeks (end of treatment), 12 weeks, and at least 6 months after the baseline assessment.
Results: Twelve men underwent a minimum of 6 weeks of acupuncture treatment. The average follow-up (from baseline) was 33 weeks (range 24 to 52). A significant decrease occurred in total NIH-CPSI (28.2 to 8.5), NIH-CPSI pain (14.1 to 4.8), NIH-CPSI urinary (5.2 to 1.3), and NIH-CPSI quality-of-life (8.8 to 2.3) scores after an average of 33 weeks of follow-up. Ten patients (83%) had a sustained greater than 50% decrease in NIH-CPSI at final visit (average 33 weeks). Ten patients (83%) reported marked improvement on the subjective global assessment at 12 weeks. At an average of 33 weeks, 8 patients (67%) had sustained marked improvement on subjective global assessment evaluation. No adverse events were reported in this pilot study.
Conclusions: Acupuncture appears to be a safe, effective, and durable treatment in improving symptoms in, and the quality of life of, men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome refractory to treatment. A larger controlled study is required to confirm these encouraging initial results.