Electroacupuncture relieves pain in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: three-arm randomized trial

Urology. 2009 May;73(5):1036-41. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2008.10.047.


Objectives: To investigate the clinical effect of electroacupuncture (EA) for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).

Methods: We recruited 63 participants meeting the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus criteria for CP/CPPS. After the inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied, 39 men were randomized to 3 treatment groups: group 1, advice and exercise plus 12 sessions of EA; group 2, advice and exercise plus 12 sessions of sham EA (SEA); and group 3, advice and exercise alone (A&E) for 6 weeks. A total of 6 acupuncture points were used to stimulate the sacral nerve and release the piriformis muscle using an electrical pulse generator. Symptoms related to CP/CPPS were assessed using the NIH-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI). Prostaglandin E(2) and beta-endorphin levels in postmassage urine samples were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: At 6 weeks, the NIH-CPSI total score had decreased significantly in the EA group compared with the SEA and A&E groups (P < .001). On a subscale analysis of the NIH-CPSI, the EA group showed significant decreases in pain-related symptoms compared with the SEA and A&E groups (P < .01). All 12 EA participants experienced at least a 6-point decrease in the NIH-CPSI total score compared with 2 of 12 SEA participants (16.7%) and 3 of 12 A&E participants (25.0%; P < .0001). The mean prostaglandin E(2) level in the postmassage urine samples had significantly decreased in the EA group (P = .023). In contrast, it had increased in the other 2 groups.

Conclusions: In a 3-arm randomized trial investigating the clinical effects of EA on CP/CPPS, EA therapy proved to have independent therapeutic effects, particularly for pain relief superior to SEA or A&E therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Electroacupuncture / methods*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pelvic Pain / complications
  • Pelvic Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pelvic Pain / therapy*
  • Probability
  • Prostatitis / complications
  • Prostatitis / diagnosis*
  • Prostatitis / therapy*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • beta-Endorphin / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • beta-Endorphin
  • Dinoprostone